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UN Committee Calls for UK Wide Strategy on Disability

25 August 2017

The United Nations Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities has called for a UK wide strategy on disability to implement the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CPRD).

The call came at the end of two days of Committee hearings in Geneva into the UK Government’s implementation of the CRPD and the status and treatment of disabled people in the UK.

Special Rapporteur Stig Langvad expressed “deep concern” that the UK government still considers itself to be a world leader in disability rights, despite its failure to implement the CRPD and the recent UN inquiry which found “grave and severe violations of human rights” within the UK. He said the UK is seen as a leader on disability rights by many other countries around the world, and as such has a “special obligation” to set world-leading standards for the treatment of disabled people.

Two overarching areas of importance were highlighted by the Committee. The first is the many gaps in safeguards and rights for disabled people, including unimplemented sections of the Equality Act, the lack of sufficient resources to ensure the Equality Act is enforced, and the need to enshrine CRPD rights into UK legislation as Britain leaves the EU. The second is the lack of joined up working between the four nations in the UK, and the need for a fully resourced action plan to ensure the principles of the CRPD are fully implemented across the whole of the UK.

The hearings were attended by representatives of DPOs from across the UK, including Disability Rights UK CEO Kamran Mallick, who said:

“I am pleased to have had the opportunity to present what is happening in the real lives of disabled to the UN committee alongside representatives of other disabled people’s organisations.

The Government were asked many searching questions by the committee but it was good to see representatives from a range of government departments and the devolved administrations there to answer those questions.

We look forward to working with the Government on improving the quality of life for disabled people and continuing with the dialogue that has been started in Geneva. Disabled people’s rights have gone backward in recent years. By working together let us get the UK back into the leading position for rights where it should be.”

Video recordings and trancripts of both days of Committee hearings are available, with subtitles and in-screen BSL translation: