Rights of disabled people may be at risk

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Rights of disabled people may be at risk

says Human Rights Committee

13/03/2012

The Joint Committee on Human Rights (JCHR) recently published its Report on the implementation of the right of disabled people to independent living. The report is written in the context of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD). 

The Report draws attention to a number of human rights issues, including:

  • the need for freestanding legislation to protect the right to independent living in UK law
  • the effect of current reforms to benefits and services on the ability of disabled people to enjoy independent living
  • the role played by the UNCRPD in policy development and decision making at all levels of government
  • the use of equality impact assessments
  • the effects of devolution on implementation of the UNCRPD
  • hate crime

The Committee finds that reforms to benefits and services risk leaving disabled people without the support they need to live independently.  Dr Hywel Francis MP, Chair of the Committee, said:

‘We are concerned to learn that the right of disabled people to independent living may be at risk through the cumulative impact of current reforms.

Even though the UK ratified the UNCPRD in 2009 with cross-party support, the Government is unable to demonstrate that sufficient regard has been paid to the Convention in the development of policy with direct relevance to the lives of disabled people’. 

The right to independent living does not exist as a freestanding right in UK law. Although it is protected and promoted to some extent by various rights, the Committee believes that this is not enough. Legislation is needed to ensure that independent is a freestanding right.More information and the full report is available at:

www.parliament.uk/business/committees
www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/jt201012