UK faces UN examination: DPOs ‘delighted’ with exposure of government’s failings
Disabled people’s organisations who travelled to Geneva this week to help highlight the government’s continuing human rights violations have praised a UN committee of disabled experts for publicly exposing the UK’s failings.
Civil servants from eight UK government departments, and the devolved governments in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, were grilled over two days about the UK’s record in implementing the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD).
The two days ended with the chair of the UN committee on the rights of persons with disabilities (CRPD), Theresia Degener, telling the UK government that its cuts to social security and other support for disabled people had caused “a human catastrophe”.
Another CRPD member, Stig Langvad, said members were “deeply concerned” by the government’s failure to implement the convention, and delivered a withering putdown, telling the UK delegation: “I could provide a long list of examples where the state party doesn’t live up to the convention. Unfortunately, the time is too limited.”
Among the DPOs that travelled to Geneva were representatives of Inclusion London, the Alliance for Inclusive Education, Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC), Equal Lives, Black Triangle, Disability Rights UK, Inclusion Scotland and Disability Wales.
Tracey Lazard, chief executive of Inclusion London, said “We are all exhausted but delighted with how the week has gone.
“We felt that the CRPD committee listened to the evidence presented by the unprecedented number of DDPO [Deaf and disabled people’s organisation] representatives who attended the sessions and while it is a shame that the government continues to deny the existence of serious rights regressions and the brutal impact of their policies, it was inspiring to be part of the collective effort by Deaf and disabled people across the UK to ensure our voices are heard.”
Ellen Clifford, from DPAC, added: “The UK government representatives were shameless in their obfuscation and misrepresentations of information in response to questions by the disability committee members but the weakness of their answers also showed how fragile their position is in continuing to try to deny the brutal and devastating impacts of their policies.
“What Deaf and disabled people have achieved in Geneva this week shows how formidable we can be when we come together and we now need to take that back to the UK to continue fighting for our rights.”
Sally Witcher, from Inclusion Scotland, said: “We wholeheartedly welcome the committee’s comments on the UK.
“The government has not been allowed to get away with evasive responses which disregard the lived experiences of Deaf and disabled people throughout the UK.”
Rhian Davies, from Disability Wales, said: “This has been a historical week for the disabled people’s movement and one that we are proud to have played our part in.”
Members of the UN’s committee on the rights of persons with disabilities (CRPD) questioned civil servants from the Office for Disability Issues, the Department for Work and Pensions, the Department of Health, the Ministry of Justice, the Department for Transport, the Department for Education, the Home Office and the Foreign Office, as well as civil servants from the devolved governments in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Key issues raised repeatedly by the committee over the two days included the impact of cuts to disabled people’s support to live independently; the discriminatory treatment of people in secure mental health settings; and the failure of the government to engage with disabled people and their organisations.
The committee also asked about discrimination in the housing market; the “disproportionate” levels of violence and abuse experienced by disabled women, and the support available to them; the “high levels of poverty” experienced by disabled people; the availability of accessible information; and the shortage of British Sign Language interpreters.
Other issues raised included the institutionalisation of children with mental health conditions; the economic impact of Brexit on disabled people; the impact of cuts and reforms to legal aid and the introduction of employment tribunal fees on disabled people’s access to justice; and the levels of bullying experienced by disabled children.
News provided by John Pring at www.disabilitynewsservice.com
- New campaign to fight barriers to elected office is tribute to Lorraine Gradwell - 18/03/2018
- Coach company’s wheelchair policy puts drivers at risk of criminal record - 17/03/2018
- DWP ignores freedom of information laws in bid to hide universal credit impact - 16/03/2018
- ‘Extraordinary’ government response to question over social care progress - 15/03/2018
- Motability ‘tit for tat’ row intensifies as bosses and minister give evidence - 15/03/2018
- Toy store The Entertainer rolls out nationwide Quiet Hour for autistic children - 15/03/2018
- ‘Huge danger’ of UK austerity policies damaging rights, says UN expert - 14/03/2018
- Stephen Hawking: Visionary physicist dies aged 76 - 14/03/2018
- Come along to celebrate the launch of The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust’s new Accessibility Checker! - 14/03/2018
- Minister suggests ‘realities of the world’ mean government will not halt attack on rights - 13/03/2018
UK faces UN examination: DPOs ‘delighted’ with exposure of government’s failings - 28 Aug 2017
Like us on Facebook