Call for action on learning disability rights as activists gather in Glasgow

Enable, founded in 1954, is co-hosting the event with Inclusion Europe, which represents 20 million people with intellectual disabilities in Europe.

Call for action on learning disability rights as activists gather in Glasgow PA Media

A Scottish disability rights charity is celebrating its 70th anniversary by hosting a European conference on improving equality for people with learning disabilities.

Enable, Scotland’s leading charity for people learning disabilities, is co-hosting the Europe in Action 2024 conference at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow from May 7-9.

The 400-strong conference will hear from a range of expert speakers about progress in Scotland and elsewhere on promoting the inclusion of people with learning disabilities, and areas where action on rights is still required.

Inclusion Europe, which is co-hosting the event with Enable, recently published research showing that 750,000 people with learning disabilities across Europe are confined in harmful segregated institutions, while 700,000 children with learning disabilities are in segregated schools and 20,000 receive no education at all.

Jyrki Pinomaa, president of Inclusion Europe said: “We want to end segregation.

“We want people with intellectual disabilities to be able to live where everybody else lives, live in the community, be part of the community, as equal citizens, as equal human beings.

“To make this happen, we need legislation that makes it possible. But it is not enough.

“To make this a reality, we need to first challenge and then change disability policies throughout Europe.”

Social care minister Maree Todd, who will address the conference on Scottish government policies to improve inclusion for people with learning disabilities, described the event as a “key milestone” for Enable.

She added: “Scotland is among the leaders in Europe for the inclusion of people with learning disabilities in their communities.

“However there is always more that we can do to improve the outcomes for people with a learning disability and we will continue to listen and to learn from those with learning disabilities and partners like Enable.”

The Inclusion Europe report found Scotland is ranked fourth in the continent and is a leader in Europe for its inclusion of people with learning disabilities in their communities.

The conference, which brings together people with learning disabilities who campaign for greater rights in countries across Europe, has been welcomed as an “opportunity” by Enable chief executive officer Theresa Shearer.

She said: “We are privileged to welcome people with learning disabilities from across Europe who are championing change in their own countries as we celebrate 70 years of Enable members successfully fighting for their rights to be included in our society.

“We have the opportunity to share with our European partners our experience of developing human rights-based services and support for people with learning disabilities in Scotland.

“We look forward to learning from the experiences of colleagues abroad and from international experts so we can make even greater progress in our work to ensure Scotland is a place where rights are made real for the people we support.”

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