UK Government potentially risks violating disabled people’s human rights, says new report
The UK government is in breach of its legal obligations to respect, protect and fulfill the human rights of disabled people, according to a new report published by Just Fair, a human rights NGO working to realise the economic and social rights of all.
The report entitled Dignity and Opportunity for All: Securing the rights of disabled people in the austerity era claims to be the first comprehensive analysis on the extent to which the UK Government is meeting its international obligations* to realise the rights of disabled people in the age of austerity.
The report broadly examines disabled people’s rights in relation to independent living specifically:
- Changes to housing benefit: namely the spare bedroom subsidy
- Reform of Disability Living Allowance: including concerns over its replacement Personal Independent Payment (PIP)
- Closure of Independent Living Fund
- Social Care: specifically the new changes brought in by the Care Act i.e. higher national minimum eligibility
- Cumulative impact of a number of policies and reform.
It also examines disabled people’s rights in regards to work, social security, protection and adequate standards of living including:
- Support for disabled people and employers: this includes ‘Access to Work’ which Livability previous campaigned on as part of the ‘Let Me In’ campaign
- Training and Skills
- Treatment of disabled people In the work place
- Risk of destitution
- Employment and support allowance and the Work Capability Assessment (WCA)- which Livability has previously campaigned on re. Atos failure to deliver WCA effectively and on time.
- Reduced availability of advice services.
Livability have previously campaigned on a number of these issues and recently Livability CEO Dave Webber co-signed a letter with the Disability Benefits Consortium published in the Times regarding concerns over the mobility component of PIP and the 20 metre rule.
As the UK’s largest Christian disability charity, Livability broadly welcomes the recommendations made in the report and also recognises the timeliness of the report’s publication; as the UK is subject to examinations by both the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with disabilities and the UN Committee on Economic, social and cultural rights this year.
Writing in the report foreword Baroness Campbell of Surbiton, who also sat on the 2012 Joint Parliamentary Committee on Human Rights, said: ‘For many disabled people, fundamental rights to life, liberty and to a private and family life can only be realised with financial or practical support. Without support many disabled people face isolation and poverty, unable to assume ordinary roles in society or to contribute economically. The absence of this support creates an avoidable dependence but also risks violating disabled people’s human rights.’
More information on the report can be found here
*International obligations as laid out in the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities (UNCRPD)