Institut für inklusive Entwicklung

Call for Papers - Independent Living

Der aktuelle Call for Papers und alle wichtigen Informationen, die Sie für einen Beitrag benötigen.


Theme: Independent Living

Independent living holds profound significance for persons with disabilities, encapsulating the fundamental rights to autonomy, dignity, and inclusion. However, the realization of independent living faces multifaceted challenges stemming from social, economic, and cultural contexts in the society. Yet, every person regardless of their impairment has a right to independent living under Article 19 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN CRPD). The article emphasizes "the equal right of all persons with disabilities to live in the community, with choices equal to others, and shall take effective and appropriate measures to facilitate full enjoyment by persons with disabilities of this right and their full inclusion and participation in the community".  

Despite its recognition on a global scale, the implementation of independent living initiatives also in the Global South is hindered by various factors. Limited access to basic services such as healthcare, education, and transportation creates barriers to independence for people with disabilities. Moreover, entrenched social norms and stigma surrounding disability often perpetuate exclusion and marginalization, further impeding efforts to promote independent living. Even more, persons with disabilities particularly those with high support needs, are highly at risk of being institutionalised and being deprived of their human right to independent living. In institutional settings, individuals often have limited autonomy and control over their daily lives, restricted opportunities for social participation and community engagement, and diminished decision-making power regarding their own care and support needs. The UN-Guidelines on deinstitutionalization, including in emergencies (2022), which complement the UN-CRPD Committee’s general comment No. 5 (2017) and its guidelines on the right to liberty and security of persons with disabilities (art. 14) judge institutionalisation as “a discriminatory practice against persons with disabilities”. For example, in the context of increasing urbanisation or reconstruction after crises due to increasing climate-related disasters or armed conflicts, societies must specifically decide to stop institution building. It is precisely in such critical situations that an active decision can be made in favour of deinstitutionalisation and the fulfilment of human rights.  

In practice, independent living strategies in the Global South often rely on community-based approaches that prioritize empowerment, accessibility, and self-determination. However, these efforts are often fragmented and under-resourced, highlighting the need for comprehensive and sustainable interventions that address the structural barriers to independent living. Still, much is needed for a transition from institutional to community-based, person-centred support, where every person with disabilities has a choice about where to live and with whom as well as the needed resources to support their independent life. Addressing the risk of institutionalization and promoting independent living for persons with disabilities requires comprehensive policy responses at national and international levels. This includes strengthening legal protections, investing in community-based support services, promoting inclusive education and employment opportunities, and raising awareness about the rights and needs of persons with disabilities.

Against this background, issue 2024-2 of the Journal “Disability and International Development” is intended to review the independent living and inclusion of persons with disabilities in the community as enshrined in Article 19 on the UN CRPD. The issue takes a closer look at challenges, good practices, and lessons learned regarding independent living and deinstitutionalisation of persons with disabilities in the Global South. We invite researchers and experts with a practical background to contribute to any of the following topics:

  • scientific studies on the situation and discrimination of persons with disabilities in the scope of their options to realize their right to choose and for individual will and preferences,
  • models, programmes, concepts, and practices that promote the independent living of persons with disabilities in formal and informal settings,
  • opportunities, gaps, needs and ways forward for the inclusion of persons with disabilities in the community in the Global South,
  • data, reports, and concepts on the independent living situation of persons with disabilities as well as possible disadvantaging factors, based on e.g., gender or age.

Before you send us your suggestion, please read the “Information for Authors” first and contact the coordination editor via e-mail then:
Judith Langensiepen (

Deadline for submission of papers: June 16, 2024