British government’s violation of disabled people’s human rights inquiry

This video from London, England says about itself:

2 March 2015

Rebecca Tully, Green Party Candidate for Woodford Green and Chingford. Against Iain Duncan Smith, showing solidarity with DPAC demo outside Maximus HQ London.

By Will Stone in Britain:

UN probes whether attacks on welfare breach rights

Tuesday 1st September 2015

DISABLED activists scored a major victory yesterday by triggering the first UN inquiry of its kind into whether the government’s welfare reforms violate their human rights.

The UN will send human-rights lawyer Catalina Devandas Aguilar to Britain in the near future to investigate the Department for Work and Pensions’ reforms, prompted by a historic application by campaign group Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC).

She is to examine whether Work and Pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith’s welfare cuts represent a “grave and systematic” violation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).

DPAC made a formal submission under the CRPD optional protocol, which establishes an individual complaints mechanism, allowing individuals or campaign groups the right to complain to the convention.

The campaign group lodged their challenge in May 2013 after three years of drastic cuts targeting disabled people by the Con-Dem government.

Now the UN has agreed to investigate, making it the first time the protocol has been successfully applied.

“This shows that three very ordinary people can actually make the government accountable to the UN and that we are not completely powerless,” said DPAC co-founder Linda Burnip, in reference to the trio from her campaign group who made the painstaking application.

“It’s been a very tortuous process. What it will do is leave a permanent public record of what has happened to disabled people in the UK.”

She extended her gratitude to former Labour minister for disabled people Anne McGuire, who signed Britain up to the operational protocol.

The UN will now examine the vicious and punitive attacks on disabled people’s independent living as well as the cuts which have seen so many placed in inhuman circumstances led to unnecessary deaths, DPAC said.

When DPAC first applied there was far less information and statistics on the effects of welfare “reform” and loss of a right to independent living on disabled people.

But the evidence DPAC presented to the CRPD committee was compelling, covering among other things the failings of the work capability assessment, the bedroom tax, the closure of the independent living fund and benefit cuts.

15 thoughts on “British government’s violation of disabled people’s human rights inquiry

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  3. Wednesday, 2 September 2015

    TORY ATTACK ON DISABLED – UN to launch inquiry

    The United Nations is to launch an inquiry into whether Tory attacks on the disabled have led to ‘grave or systematic violations’ of their human rights.

    The Department of Work and Pensions revealed last week that 2,380 people died within six weeks of being thrown off benefits after being declared ‘fit to work’ by the government between 2011 and 2014. The Department for Work and Pensions fought for months against disability charities and campaigners in order to not release the numbers.

    However, the Information Commissioner ruled that the government had no justifiable reason to withhold the figures. A formal inquiry has now been launched by the UN’s Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

    UN investigations are conducted confidentially, but a visit by the UN’s Special Rapporteur and members of the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is expected soon. Disability rights campaigners and charities say that disabled people have seen their quality of life collapse as a result of the Tory benefit cuts and cuts to services.

    Research by The Centre for Welfare Reform found that disabled people have already been hit up to 19 times harder by cuts than others. According to Inclusion Scotland, a consortium of disability organisations in Scotland, by 2018, more than 80,000 disabled people in Scotland will lose some or all of the help with mobility costs they were previously entitled to.

    Inclusion Scotland reports that disabled people in some areas of Scotland are waiting for up to 10 months to access Personal Independent Payment disability benefits, due to delays in assessments taking place. Director of policy at Inclusion Scotland, Bill Scott, stated: ‘The UN have notified us they will be visiting Britain to investigate and want to meet with us when they come, sometime in the next few months.

    ‘It is the cumulative impact that is so serious, because the government seems to have assumed that different disabled people would be affected by different cuts – but that is not the case. ‘There are a lot of individuals who are affected by three, four, five – sometimes six or seven different benefit cuts.’

    It has been estimated that most families with disabled children will lose around £1,500 a year as a result of changes to child tax credits under the new Universal Credit system.


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