United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities CRPD/C/GC/5 Distr.: General 27 October 2017 Original: English Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities General comment No. 5 (2017) on living independently and being included in the community I. Introduction 1. Persons with disabilities have historically been denied their personal and individual choice and control across all areas of their lives. Many have been presumed to be unable to live independently in their self-chosen communities. Support is either unavailable or tied to particular living arrangements, and community infrastructure is not universally designed. Resources are invested in institutions instead of in developing possibilities for persons with disabilities to live independently in the community. This has led to abandonment, dependence on family, institutionalization, isolation and segregation. 2. Article 19 of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities recognizes the equal right of all persons with disabilities to live independently and be included in the community, with the freedom to choose and control their lives. The foundation of the article is the core human rights principle that all human beings are born equal in dignity and rights and all life is of equal worth. 3. Article 19 emphasizes that persons with disabilities are subjects of rights and are rights holders. The general principles of the Convention (art. 3), particularly respect for the individual’s inherent dignity, autonomy and independence (art. 3 (a)) and the full and effective participation and inclusion in society (art. 3 (c)), are the foundation of the right to live independently and be included in the community. Other principles enshrined in the Convention are also essential to interpret and apply article 19. 4. Independent living and inclusive life in the community are ideas that historically stemmed from persons with disabilities asserting control over the way they want to live by creating empowering forms of support such as personal assistance and requesting that community facilities be in line with universal design principles. 5. In the preamble to the Convention, States parties recognize that many persons with disabilities live in poverty and stress the need to address the impact of poverty. The cost of social exclusion is high as it perpetuates dependency and thus interference with individual freedoms. Social exclusion also engenders stigma, segregation and discrimination, which can lead to violence, exploitation and abuse in addition to negative stereotypes that feed into a cycle of marginalization of persons with disabilities. Policies and concrete plans of action for social inclusion of persons with disabilities, including through the promotion of their right to independent living (art. 19), represent a cost-effective mechanism to ensure the enjoyment of rights, sustainable development and a reduction in poverty. 6. The present general comment aims at assisting States parties in their implementation of article 19 and fulfilling their obligations under the Convention. It concerns primarily the obligation to ensure every individual’s enjoyment of the right to live independently and be included in the community, but it is also related to other provisions of the Convention. GE.17-19008(E) 

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