UN CRPD 2017: What happens next?

A ‘human catastrophe’ – New UN condemnation for UK disability rights record

The UK Government’s claim to be a ‘World leader in disability issues’, has today been crushed by the UN CRPD. The Committee has released damning Concluding Observations on the UK, following its first Review of the government’s compliance with the Convention.

The Observations conclude last week’s public examination of the UK Government’s record on delivering disabled people’s rights. The examination was declared by the UK rapporteur Mr Stig Langvad, to be “the most challenging exercise in the history of the Committee”. Mr Langvad raised deep concerns on the UK Government’s failure to implement the rights of disabled people. He also noted the government’s “lack of recognition of the findings and recommendations of the (2016) Inquiry”, which found ‘grave and systematic violations of disabled people’s human rights’.

Deaf and Disabled People’s Organisations (DDPOs) were hailed as the genuine “world leaders” for their efforts. DDPOs have been bringing to light the injustices and human rights violations inflicted on disabled people in the UK.

The UK Delegation of Deaf and Disabled People’s Organisations has issued the following joint statement:Mark at the UN CRPD in Geneva

“Today the UN (CRPD) Committee has, once again, condemned the UK Government’s record on Deaf and Disabled People’s human rights. They have validated the desperation, frustration and outrage experienced by Deaf and Disabled people since austerity and welfare cuts began. It is no longer acceptable for the UK Government to ignore the strong and united message of the disability community. ”

UK Government representatives committed during the review to rethinking the way they support Deaf and Disabled People to monitor our rights. We welcome this commitment.  However, we are clear that our involvement must be genuine and inclusive. We cannot accept anything less than progress on delivering the human rights enshrined in the Convention.

DDPOs have established themselves as a force to be reckoned with. We have challenging the Government’s blatant disregard for the lives of Deaf and disabled people in the UK. The unity and solidarity demonstrated by the Committee and the UK Independent Mechanism in supporting our calls for justice continue to strengthen us.

Equal Lives CEO, Mark Harrison said:

“We welcome this condemnation of UK Government policy towards disabled people by the UN. When the Chair of the disability committee described the situation that disabled people face as a ‘human catastrophe’ she was reflecting what Norfolk’s disability community has been experiencing over the last 7 years.  In a very short space of time, we have gone from having some of the best rights in the world to a crisis situation where people are dying because of the barriers and discrimination caused by austerity.  Equal Lives is here to support disabled people of all ages to live as equal and active citizens.  We will continue to speak out and campaign for equality and justice, until the Government recognises its responsibilities and changes course”.

For further reading, please see the following articles:

DPAC & Inclusion London Inquiry Final

UK wide LOI response – final draft EC