Highly dependent disabled persons: Belgium condemned by the European Committee of Social Rights

On 29 July 2013, the European Committee of Social Rights made public its unanimous condemnation of Belgium. A verdict was both severe and explicit about the failings of the State to provide adequate care facilities and about its attempts to justify its position: “none of the justification put forth by the Government of Belgium on its failure to provide a (sufficient) number of places in the care and accommodation centres for adults with severe disabilities, so that these people are not prevented from having access to such social services, will be accepted. The Committee said that, hence, the failing is evidence of the violation of the Charter.”

On 13 December 2011, by lodging a collective complaint against the Belgian state, FIDH supported close to 20 associations (*) that represent the people-with-disabilities sector in Belgium . This complaint for violation of the European Social Charter was the next step for these associations that for many years have been working to draw the attention of the authorities to the tragic, inhumane situation facing disabled people and many of their families.

At a press conference in Brussels, Véronique van der Plancke, the lawyer for the Belgian Human Rights League explained that this verdict might open the way for individual actions by disabled people and/or their families before the courts, and perhaps be accompanied by requests for financial penalties because of problems of access to appropriate care solutions that they are asking for.

For further information please consult the following documents (in French):
Press file and Summary of the decision of the Committee on Social Rights

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