Deaf and Disability organisations from across the UK are set to highlight the government’s “ongoing human rights violations and evasive behaviour” to a major United Nations committee.
Deaf and Disabled people’s organisations (DDPOs) will tell the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in Geneva that the government has ignored many of the questions put to it earlier this year by the UN team.
The committee is assessing the UK’s progress in implementing the UN Convention on the Rights of Disabled People, which the UK government ratified in 2009.
It will consider the government’s response to its questions and the DDPOs’ observations before quizzing representatives from the UK and devolved governments in Geneva later this week.
Referring to the government’s submission for the investigation, Kamran Mallick, chief executive of Disability Rights UK, said: “Many of the government’s answers have a tone of complacency at best and high-handed evasion at worst.
“The government produced no evidence or detail to show how it is supporting people to lead independent lives; something it committed to when it ratified the convention in 2009. The government document also makes grand claims about the impact of the Equality Act and the Care Act that simply don’t reflect the everyday experiences of disabled people in the UK.”
DPPOs will tell the committee that a range of government policies – many arising from the austerity agenda – place it in breach of the convention. These shortcomings are aggravated, the campaigners say, by the failure of other public sector bodies such as local authorities and NHS organisations to deliver the support and safeguards set out in the convention.
Among the issues highlighted in the DDPOs’ submission are the poor supply of accessible housing, the impact of the government’s welfare reforms and plans to cap funding for support that allows disabled people to work.
Tracey Lazard, CEO of Inclusion London speaking on behalf of the Reclaiming Our Future Alliance, said: “There is clear and extensive evidence of retrogression of Disabled people’s rights in the UK since 2010. To date responses from the government have failed to acknowledge the existence, let alone the scale, of this problem – a problem that is having a dramatic adverse impact on the lives of millions of Disabled people and our families every day. We look forward to taking part in proceedings in Geneva to continue to ensure the disability committee has accurate information about the situation in the UK and in hearing how the government responds to their questions.”
DPPOs will also point to the government’s failure to act on the recommendations of a separate inquiry report the committee published last December.
In that special inquiry, which was triggered by the DPPOs, the committee concluded that the UK government’s welfare reforms were violating rights set out in the convention.
The DDPOs’ submission was co-produced by Disability Rights UK, Reclaiming our Futures Alliance, Inclusion Scotland, People First Scotland, Disability Wales, Disability Action Northern Ireland, British Deaf Association and Black Triangle.