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UK policies 'a human catastrophe' for disabled people according to UN

After a statement from the UN yesterday that describes the UK’s treatment of disabled people as a “human catastrophe”, BASW is urging the Government to address its failings and respect the rights of disabled people.

The influential UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), met this week to evaluate whether the UK is implementing recommendations from the committee’s damning report last year, which unveiled “grave” and “systematic” violations of human rights of disabled people since 2010.

Theresia Degener, the chairwoman of the CRPD, concluded that the UK has failed to implement change and condemned the Government for “misusing statistics” to act as a “smoke screen”.

BASW CEO Ruth Allen said: “Once more the UN have again spoken out against UK policies systematically causing harm to disabled people.

“Social workers work alongside disabled people to protect their rights every day, and it is our perpetual responsibility to protect people's human rights and dignity in daily practice.

“We must also speak out collectively, as a professional body, against austerity-driven policies which are seeing the UK go into reverse on the rights and wellbeing of disabled citizens.”

Allen added: “We will use our access to the UN via the International Federation of Social Workers to add our voice against the undermining of disabled peoples' access to full citizenship.”

The CRPD claims the evidence presented to it by British disabled people’s organisations, charities and NGOs sows that the Government has forced through reforms with no regard for the rights of disabled people.

The committee highlighted two main pieces of evidence. Firstly, it found 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.

Secondly, the committee criticised the lack of cohesion between the four nations in the UK, and stressed the need for a fully resourced action plan to ensure the principles of the CRPD are fully implemented across the whole of the UK.

Sue Bott, the deputy chief executive of charity Disability Rights, said the Government needed to think about how its policies combine to limit disabled people’s rights.

 “We’re hearing more and more that social care has become so basic and so poorly funded that people just aren’t able to get out of their own homes,” said Bott.