Conference proceedings: Transition towards Independent Living within the Community for Persons with Disabilities

On 14-15 February 2023, ESCWA in cooperation with Government of Malta, and the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities organized a conference on “Transition towards Independent Living within the Community for Persons with Disabilities.” The conference discussed policies and programmes for ensuring independent living for persons with disabilities, a right enshrined under Article 19 in the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The events included presentations on national experiences and good practices from European and Arab countries. In preparation for the conference, the organizers issued a call for papers to invite researchers, including those with disabilities, to submit papers on the topic. Eight peer-reviewed submissions were selected by a committee and presented during conference sessions. The following presents these eight papers, which fall under four sub-themes: (1)
technology and inclusion, (2) independent living for children and students, (3) transition after university and finding work, and (4) approaches to independent living in Europe. 

These research papers demonstrate that, despite commitments to Article 19, there remains structural challenges to implementation. One key barrier is the practice of “institutionalization”, a term that refers to the often non-consensual stay of persons with disabilities in long-term residential institutions in isolation from society. Other barriers that persons with disabilities face include access to technology, education, transition after university and finding work and the equitable inclusion in social, economic and civic life.