Disabled rights groups march on UN HQ in Geneva to demand rights of disabled are protected
An influential UN committee has been told disabled people’s human rights in Scotland are being “violated” by the Tories’ welfare cuts agenda.
And it has led to a call from the Scottish Human Rights Commission (SHRC) and the Equality and Human Rights Commission to call on the UK and Scottish governments to do more to protect the rights of disabled people.
Evidence presented to the United Nations in Geneva today showed the UK government’s welfare change programme has resulted in “grave and systematic violations” of disabled people’s human rights.
A report from the SHRC highlights areas in which improvement is urgently needed to ensure disabled people in Scotland can live independently with dignity – including access to housing, education, health, law, advocacy and money.
The report assesses the extent to which the UK and Scottish Governments are meeting their international human rights treaty obligations.
Judith Robertson, chair of the SHRC, said: “We call on the UK and Scottish governments to act urgently so that disabled people are able to access all of their rights, including the right to live independently, to work and to an adequate standard of living.
“These rights are protected in international law by the United Nations’ Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD). The commissions monitor the convention’s implementation in Scotland.
“As the Scottish Government and parliament considers how to utilise new devolved powers in relation to social security, the commissions’ particularly draw attention to the need to embed human rights into any new laws, policies and practices.”
Alastair Pringle, Scotland director of the EHRC, added: “Disabled people face multiple exclusions today in Scotland. The lack of accessible or appropriate housing and transport remain major barriers to disabled peoples full participation in society.”
UK government austerity measures have undermined our human rights in the most devastating ways - Bill Scott
“As a result disabled people are half as likely to be in work as non-disabled people. Scotland suffers as a result.
"We have a large potential workforce of skilled and talented people who are unable to contribute to Scottish society – economically, socially or civically – because of removable barriers to full participation.
"We need to harness this talent and enable disabled people to play their full role in Scottish society”.
Disability rights organisation Inclusion Scotland travelled to Geneva to give evidence to the committee.
Together with disability rights groups from across the UK, they will highlight the “devastating impacts" of UK government welfare reform and the austerity agenda has had on the rights of disabled people.
Inclusion’s director of policy Bill Scott said: “Of the £27billion in social security cuts under the UK government, over half have fallen on disabled people and their families.
“UK government austerity measures have undermined our human rights in the most devastating ways. No longer can we take even the most basic of support for granted.”