Thematic study on the right of persons with disabilities to live independently and to be included in the community

The right to live independently and to be included in the community emanates from the core human rights principle that all humans are born equal in dignity and rights. Through promoting enabling and inclusive environments for all – including persons with disabilities – it aims to prevent abandonment and segregation and to enable the full development of the personality and capabilities of persons with disabilities. It is founded on the general principles of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), including the respect for the inherent dignity, individual autonomy and independence of persons with disabilities, and their full and effective participation and inclusion in the society.

Article 19 reaffirms the equal right of all persons with disabilities to live in the community, with choices equal to others, and requires States Parties to take effective and appropriate measures to facilitate the full enjoyment by persons with disabilities of this right, including by ensuring that:

  • persons with disabilities have the opportunity to choose their place of residence and where and with whom they live on an equal basis with others and are not obliged to live in a particular living arrangement;
  • persons with disabilities have access to a range of in-home, residential and other community support services, including personal assistance necessary to support living and inclusion in the community, and to prevent isolation or segregation from the community;
  • community services and facilities for the general population are available on an equal basis to persons with disabilities and are responsive to their needs.

The implementation of the right to live independently and to be included in the community would require, among other elements:

  • The establishment of equal recognition before the law for all persons with disabilities and the provision of supported decision-making, when needed, to ensure that all persons have choice and control over their lives on equal basis with others;
  • The end of forced institutionalization, which represents a form of deprivation of liberty based on disability and is against the CRPD;
  • A deinstitutionalization process, which requires a systemic transformation and includes the closure of institutional settings, the provision of individualized support services and the availability of inclusive mainstream services in respect of the will and preferences of the person.
  • The adequate allocation of resources to provide individualized support services and inclusive mainstream services.

In its resolution 25/20, the Human Rights Council requested the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to prepare a study on the right to live independently and to be included in the community, in consultation with States and other relevant stakeholders, regional organizations, the Special Rapporteur on Disability of the Commission for Social Development, civil society organizations, including organizations of persons with disabilities, and national human rights institutions.

The study focuses on the right to live independently and to be included in the community as a substantive mean for the realization of other rights, as a condition to avoid institutionalization and segregation in health and social settings, and as a prerequisite to provide for the full development of the capabilities of persons with disabilities and their meaningful participation in, and contribution to, society.

The study will available here.

In the preparation of the study, OHCHR invited contributions from Member States, regional organizations, civil society organizations and organizations of persons with disabilities, the Special Rapporteur on disability of the Commission for Social Development, and national human rights institutions, transmitting a set of questions related to existing legislation and policies enabling persons with disabilities to live independently and to be included in the community. As a result, OHCHR received the following responses: 

Submissions to the thematic study on the right of persons with disabilities to live independently and to be included in the community