Young people with disabilities are not only the future of the disability movement - they are the generations for whom full inclusion can and shall be obtained. Mainstreaming of disability policy into inclusion on the labour marked and independent living are increasingly making it possible for new generations of people with disabilities to live independent and meaningful lives - regardless of their disability.
However inclusion and citizenship are not only about mainstreaming, independent living and inclusion on the labour marked. The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities article 7 expresses the right for children with disabilities to be heard on matters affecting them; article 29 states the right to participation in political life as well as forming associations to represent persons with disabilities. Inclusion and citizenship is also about having a voice and therefore it is crucial that youth with disabilities has a representative voice as well. Therefore the Danish Association of Youth with Disabilities and Disabled People’s Organizations - Denmark calls for EDF as well its member organizations to support youth with disabilities to get develop that voice – both on national as well as European level.
Youth must be represented by young people themselves in both organizational and political forums. Young people have specific needs, different from those of grown-ups with disabilities and it is crucial that they can voice those needs themselves – both in the general organizations representing all of Persons with disabilities as well as in youth-specific forums.
We urge all full member national councils to support the youth with disabilities by assisting the process of creating the framework for young people to organize themselves and develop their voice within national councils. Furthermore we urge all full member European non-governmental organizations to support similar initiatives on a European level. To lead the way in this work, EDF itself shall support youth with disabilities by taking the following actions:
Assisting in fundraising and support the realisation of a youth event on European level in order to gather youth with disabilities from all over Europe;
Helping locating and involving relevant youth work on both a national and European level in order to gather as many forces as possible in the EDF youth network;
Providing the necessary political support towards relevant organizations and institutions to ensure that young people with disabilities can raise their voice for themselves within EDF and its member organisations;
Supporting the work of youth with disabilities by assisting in finding funding which would enable the development of among other possibilities joint activities, exchanges, etc;
Establishing a youth employment exchange program giving youth the possibility of employment experience within our organisations.
Youth with disabilities needs to be represented within general disability organizations. So, EDF must continue the internal work on strengthening young people within the organization through the EDF Youth Committee.
The youth work will help empower, educate and support young people within EDF and increase their representativeness and thus the democracy within EDF. Furthermore the youth work will increase focus on political issues specifically related to young people with disabilities and activate and engage more young people in disability work on a European level. Finally strong youth work ensures the recruitment, training and empowering of new generations of disability advocates and thereby strengthens the future democratic voice of people with disabilities, both in the EDF as well as its member organizations.
EDF Resolution “Give Youth with disabilities a voice of their own”