Project activities have been carried out within the framework of the Center for Policy Studies until December 2007. The initiative has become independent and is now run by the European Network on Independant Living(ENIL).
What is the European Coalition for Community Living?
The European Coalition for Community Living (ECCL) is a Europe-wide initiative working towards the social inclusion of people with disabilities by promoting the provision of comprehensive, quality community-based services as an alternative to institutionalisation.
ECCL’s vision is of a society in which people with disabilities live as equal citizens, with full respect for their human rights. They must have real choices regarding where and with whom to live, choices in their daily lives and real opportunities to be independent and to actively participate in their communities.
The European Coalition for Community Living advocates for and monitors progress towards de-institutionalisation in Europe, campaigns for, and provides information on, the development of comprehensive, quality community-based services and de-institutionalisation.
ECCL uses the following definition of the term "institution":
"An institution is any place in which people who have been labelled as having a disability are isolated, segregated and/or compelled to live together. An institution is also any place in which people do not have, or are not allowed to exercise control over their lives and their day-to-day decisions. An institution is not defined merely by its size."
ECCL is a cross-disability initiative and targets all actors involved in the process of de-institutionalisation and the development and provision of community-based alternatives – local, national and regional authorities, the European Union, disability and other non governmental organisations, service provider organisations and staff of the existing institutions.
Membership of ECCL is open to all organisations and individuals concerned with community living and de-institutionalisation of persons with disabilities.
Why our work is important?
Across Europe, thousands of people with disabilities spend many years, or their entire lives, isolated in institutions. While the quality of life in institutions varies, all deny people with disabilities the right to live included in the community and society.
Many institutions deny people with disabilities their basic human rights. Residents of these institutions have no choice over how to live their lives and no control over decisions made about them. Others decide where and with whom they will live, how many people they will share their room with and what clothes they will wear. Others decide how their money will be spent. In these institutions residents are not allowed to have a relationship or get married. They cannot leave the institution freely and often lose any contact with their family and friends. Most have no access to education or employment and spend their days with little or nothing to do. In some cases members of the staff have neither the skills nor the knowledge to provide residents with the necessary habilitation and therapy.
People with disabilities living in institutions are often victims of serious human rights violations. Some reports have documented residents being kept in caged beds and the use of unmodified electroshock therapy. Others highlight physical and sexual abuse by the staff and other residents, degrading living facilities and the failure to provide basic needs.