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DR UK and Unison hold joint event on Brexit

16 September 2019

Disability Rights UK and UNISON joint event at Parliament to discuss disability rights after Brexit

On Tuesday September 10th UNISON and Disability Rights UK held a joint roundtable discussion on human rights and Brexit, title Brexit – Securing Human Rights for Disabled People. The discussion included contributions from:

  • Paul Blomfield MP, Shadow Minister for Exiting the European Union
  • Graeme Ellis, Co-Chair of UNISON National Disabled Members Committee
  • Evan Odell, Researcher, Disability Rights UK
  • Susie Fitton, Policy Officer, Inclusion Scotland
  • John Horan, Barrister at Law, Cloisters
  • Swee Leng Harris, Head of Policy and Public Affairs, Legal Education Foundation
  • Charles Whitmore, Brexit Civil Society Forum Coordinator, Cardiff University
Prior to the event, UNISON and Disability Rights UK agreed on the following joint priorities on human rights for disabled people:
  1. Trust and inclusion: UNISON and Disability Rights UK believe that disabled people are being excluded from policymaking and the biggest decisions facing society. We firmly believe the way in which disabled people have been side-lined for the duration of the Brexit process and debate epitomises this. We are calling on the government to take immediate steps to consider the impact Brexit will have on disabled people.
  2. UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD): UNISON and Disability Rights UK want the UK government to commit to incorporating the principles of the UNCRPD into UK law irrespective of whether the UK leaves the European Union with or without a deal. We believe that Brexit provides a timely opportunity to create new legislation to affirm the UK’s commitment to the UNCRPD and the human rights of disabled people.
  3. Healthcare: UNISON and Disability Rights UK are concerned that the disruption from a no-deal Brexit will disproportionately harm disabled people, as medicine shortages are expected. We believe that even the possibility of a no-deal Brexit has already impacted on some disabled people’s ability to source certain medications. We also fear that some disabled people may be unable to travel to the European Union for work or leisure as they may be unable to access private medical insurance due to pre-existing conditions. We are therefore calling on the government to put reciprocal agreements in place between the UK and the European Union to protect disabled people’s access to the EU.
For more information on our Brexit work, please see here: https://www.disabilityrightsuk.org/brexit-manifesto