Today, 26th August, Peter Lambreghts (ENIL Senior Officer to whom we said last goodbye yesterday) was going to pay his respect to the victims in Japan, one month after the attack of a man who killed 19 disabled people living in a care centre in Sagamihara – a small town near Tokyo. At least 25 more disabled residents of the care centre were injured. This attack once again brought forward the violations of human rights on disabled people, many of whom live with the threat of abuse and even murder.
ENIL with Peter Lambreghts as one of our lead activists has been continuously promoting the closure of all institutions – now and not later! Disabled people placed in institutions are often deprived of their legal capacity and of their right of choice and control over their own lives. Cases of abuse and neglect happen now and again in institutions in Europe and worldwide. The majority of these cases are not reported, since disabled people are often not aware of their rights and have no access to justice. Usually these cases become forgotten… too quickly. But not by us!
Disabled people have the right to receive support to be able to fully participate in and contribute to society. That can only happen if governments develop and invest in community-based services and promote independent living. An inclusive society is a better society not only for disabled persons but for everyone.
ENIL, in the memory of the Japanese victims and the memory of Peter, reminds once again governments in Europe and world-wide that institutions and care centres where disabled people are placed – often against their will – are in violation of human rights and the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). Article 19 of the UN CRPD recognizes the equal right of all disabled people to live independently and be included in the community.
Our thoughts are still with the victims of the attack, the ones injured and traumatised, and their families. May all rest in peace and may the governments react faster and stronger showing their commitment to making this world a place where human rights are guaranteed.