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Across Europe, thousands of disabled people still spend their lives inappropriately and unjustifiably segregated from society. With a severe lack, or complete absence, of community-based services in many European countries, untold numbers of people with disabilities have no access to quality alternatives to institutional care.

The segregation of people with disabilities in long-stay residential institutions is in itself a violation of disabled people's human rights.

To ensure that people can move into the community, and will no longer need to live in long-stay residential institutions, it is essential that governments, service providers and funding agencies commit to shifting the funding from long stay institutions to community-based services. They must focus on the development of quality community-based services that are available to everyone who needs them.

Article 19 of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities provides that all disabled people have the right to live and participate in the community. Comprehensive, quality community-based services must therefore be available and accessible to all people with disabilities, including people with complex dependency needs.

The European Coalition for Community Living and the European Network on Independent Living call on:

-Relevant authorities, government agencies, political bodies, service providers and funding agencies:
-To actively develop quality, comprehensive community-based services that comply with the following basic quality standards:
-Location within a local community
-Opportunities to interact with other members of the local community
-Respect for each person's personal space, privacy and property
-Availability of the necessary personal support for each disabled person
-To stop financing or otherwise supporting the establishment of new long stay institutions for any group of disabled people;
-To stop new admissions to existing long stay institutions and provide quality community-based services instead of placing people in institutions;
-To ratify without reservations the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the Optional Protocol.

-Relevant organisations and members of the public:
-To support the right of all people with disabilities to live in the community as equal citizens;
-To support the development of quality, comprehensive community-based alternatives to institutional care.
-To support this campaign by adding your signature, please CLICK HERE.

Signatures will be collected until the next Freedom Drive in September 2011, when disabled people from all over Europe will gather in Strasbourg to campaign for their rights and to address their MEPs. The petition will be presented to the European Parliament and other authorities at the European and national levels.

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