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30 March was the National Day of
persons with intellectual disabilities in Italy.

It was held in Rome at Qurinal Place.

There were self-advocates, organisations of persons
with intellectual disabilities and politicians.

They talked about how we can make the lives of
persons with disabilities and their families better.

The event was a chance to discuss the rights of
persons with intellectual disabilities.

 

On 30 March, Inclusion Europe Italian member Anffas collaborated to host a ceremony at Qurinal Palace, Rome to celebrate the National Day of Persons with Intellectual Disabilities.

More than 300 influential attendees from Italian organisations of persons with disabilities gathered alongside prominent politicians such as Beatrice Lorenzin, the Italian Minister of Health and Sergio Mattarella, the President of the Italian Republic, to discuss the problems persons with intellectual disabilities and their families face on a daily basis.

By bringing together persons with intellectual disabilities from all over the country, the event aimed to draw attention to everyday inequalities such as discrimination, exclusion and deprivation. These social injustices are commonly overlooked, forcing over 2 million people in Italy to struggle with the consequences of having their human rights neglected. Despite numerous laws at European and global levels, including the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN CRPD), individuals and their families undoubtedly require further support if we are to implement substantial change.

Key matters include health, education, employment, independent living and relationships but in fact, all areas of life possess significant scope for improvement. Cultural and scientific evidence indicate better practice requires early and direct tailored support. Such changes will holistically improve the lives of the individual across their lifespan, for their family unit and the community as a whole.

On the day, the “Rome Declaration on Promoting and Sustaining Self-Advocacy in Europe” televised on Rai Uno presented the main issues faced by persons with intellectual disabilities and proposed improvements. It encouraged the following areas to be urgently addressed in order to enable persons with disabilities to become full citizens of their communities:

  • Concrete implementation of the UN CRPD
  • More attention to inclusive policies and equal opportunities (eg. Inclusive schools, inclusive employment)
  • Better resources
  • Support in their daily lives

Only the commitment from social institutions supported by a change in public attitudes and the cooperation of the community can result in these important developments, piercing the veil of prejudice and ending stigmatisation. Perceptions of disability need to shift in order to understand the potential mutual benefit and contribution to the community persons with disability can have. With that in mind, the organisations behind this day supported and encouraged the full participation of persons with disabilities and their families through a succession of different testimonies from self-advocates.

With unwavering commitment, this day stood to demonstrate persons with disabilities are individuals who deserve respect, empowerment and meaningful consideration.