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UK Government could face high level UN Inquiry for systemic violation of disabled people’s rights

August 27 2014

The UN’s Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) has postponed its public examination of the UK Government’s implementation of the disability convention ahead of next year’s general election. The examination was due to take place in April 2015 but will now happen later in the year.

The reported reason for the delay is that the UK Government may be the first country to face a high-level inquiry by a United Nations committee, as a result of “grave or systemic violations” of the rights of disabled people.

These concerns have been widely voiced amongst disability charities and the wider disabled community. For example, recent reports from the Just Fair coalition and Disability Rights UK’s (DRUK) both concluded that the UK Government are in serious jeopardy of violating disabled people’s rights and that there has been reduced opportunities for disabled people to live independently.

Commenting on the alleged new developments Philip Connolly, Policy and Communications Manager at Disability Rights UK, of which Livability is a member, said: “The possibility of an inquiry into violations of disabled people rights is welcome news. At our recent independent living conference we reviewed the progress of UK Governments since 2009 and documented the erosion of disabled people’s rights. It may now be the case that international lawyers are coming to similar viewpoints. We would now expect parliament to obtain confirmation from the Government whether this is indeed the case when it reconvenes.”

Over the past five years disabled people in the UK have experienced a number of significant changes to welfare. This includes:

  • The changes from Disability Living Allowance to Personal Independence Payment.
  • Introduction of the Work Capability Assessment and Employment Support Allowance assessments- including the poor conduct of Atos in delivering them.
  • The closure of the Independent Living Fund.
  • The fiasco around the introduction of the universal credits.
  • The intentional reduction of local government funding and its impact on adult social care funding.

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