Disability Wales holds Government to account in Geneva

Disabled people's human rights are being breached in the UK. Call it out

Delegation of DDPOs prepare in Geneva- 20th August
Delegation of DDPOs prepare in Geneva- 20th August 2017 (C) Natasha Hirst











Disability Wales calls out UK Government on human rights violations

Disability Wales and Deaf and Disabled People’s Organisations (DDPOs) from across the UK join forces in Geneva this week, presenting evidence of ongoing human rights violations to the UN Committee on the Rights of Disabled People.

In a closed session on Monday 21st August, Disabled People’s Organisations will highlight the UK Government’s failure to respond to many of the questions put to it by the Committee throughout this process, and will tell the Committee of the systemic failure to support disabled people to live independently and to have access to social, educational and employment opportunities.


Key issues include:

  • The UK Government’s failure to answer the questions put to it by the UN Committee on the Rights of Disabled People in their List of Issues.
  • The retrogression in implementation of disabled people’s rights in the UK.
  • The UK Government’s dismissal of the 2016 Inquiry recommendations and lack of respect for implementing the range of human rights Conventions.

Disability Wales will also call for Welsh Government to strengthen its own approach to fulfilling its obligations under the CRDP. Recent engagement with disabled people across Wales regarding the review of the Framework for Action on Independent Living, confirmed that barriers to achieving disability rights and equality in Wales, remain firmly in place.

The Public Examination of the UK and devolved Governments will take place on Wednesday 23rd and Thursday 24th August.


This is the first time the Committee will review a State that it has previously had under Inquiry for violating the Convention on the Rights of Disabled People. Disability activists will draw attention to the UK Government’s dismissal of recommendations for action noted by the Inquiry.


Rhian Davies, Chief Executive of Disability Wales says:

“Disabled people are being failed by the UK Government and we are in Geneva to call out these violations of our rights.

The recent Supreme Court ruling overturning Tribunal Fee charges is just one example of where discriminatory policies have been deemed unacceptable. There are many more policies that need throwing out in order to protect the rights and lives of disabled people and their families.

This is our opportunity to show that we will not stop challenging Government sanctioned discrimination and exclusion of disabled people in the UK.”


In a closed session with the Committee, DDPOs will be identifying issues that have the most severe impact on disabled people in the UK.

We will request that the Committee make recommendations to the UK and Welsh Governments on actions they should take to progress the rights, access and inclusion of disabled people in all areas of their lives.


Wendy Ashton, Chair of Disability Wales said,

“The Examination gives disabled people a voice and shines a spotlight on decisions the Government has taken to marginalise us.

In Wales, devolution provides the opportunity to do things differently. It is essential that Welsh Government strengthen the role of the Framework for Action on Independent Living since there is no other overarching mechanism in Wales that outlines our rights.

We must make sure that a human rights based approach identifies and meets the needs of disabled people living in Wales and call upon Welsh Government to support us as we fight for a better future for all disabled people.”

Notes to editors:

  • Disability Wales is the national association of disabled people’s organisations in Wales championing the rights, equality and independence of all disabled people.
  • The UN Committee on the Rights of Disabled People Examination will assess what steps the UK and devolved Governments have taken to implement the UN Convention on the Rights of Disabled People following ratification of it in 2009. The Committee is a body of experts, nominated and elected by governments, the majority of whom are disabled people.
  • The committee postponed its assessment of the UK (originally due in 2015) to investigate a complaint of the violation of disabled people’s rights as a result of welfare reform. This was brought under the optional protocol of the Convention. The findings expressed concern of grave and systemic violations of disabled people’s human rights. That investigation looked only at a part of the UN Convention on the Rights of Disabled People – with a particular focus on the impact of austerity measures and welfare reform. The current report looks at a much wider set of issues, including our laws on mental health and mental capacity, policies on employment and education and more.

Inquiry report, 2016: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/CRPD/Pages/InquiryProcedure.aspx

  • Following evidence submitted in March 2017, the UN Committee on the Rights of Disabled People produced a List of Issues that it considers to be a priority for the Government. The Government provided a written response, to which DDPOs have provided a further Civil Society Shadow report. The UK Independent mechanism consisting of human rights watchdogs has also submitted a response. These reports can be accessed online:

UK Government response: http://tbinternet.ohchr.org/_layouts/treatybodyexternal/Download.aspx?symbolno=CRPD%2fC%2fGBR%2fQ%2f1%2fAdd.1&Lang=en

DDPOs Civil Society responses throughout the Review: http://tbinternet.ohchr.org/_layouts/treatybodyexternal/SessionDetails1.aspx?SessionID=1158&Lang=en

DDPOs response to List of Issues July 2017: http://tbinternet.ohchr.org/_layouts/treatybodyexternal/Download.aspx?symbolno=INT%2fCRPD%2fCSS%2fGBR%2f28473&Lang=en

DDPOs across the UK have worked in coproduction to collect evidence and compile the reports through the Review process. The DDPOs submission was co-produced by Disability Rights UK, Inclusion Scotland, Disability Wales, Disability Action Northern Ireland, and the Reclaiming our Futures Alliance. Additional submissions with more information about the devolved nations were also submitted by DRUK / Disability Wales / ROFA; Inclusion Scotland; and Disability Action NI.

  • On 23rd and 24th August the examination of the UK Government will take place in Geneva, with the UN Committee on the Rights of Disabled People producing their Concluding Observations in the Autumn of 2017.

The live stream of the examination will be available online webtv.un.org

  • A delegation of DDPOs from across the UK, including Disability Wales will be in Geneva to submit further evidence and observe the public examination.

Interviews with delegation members can be arranged on request.

  • A lay person’s guide to the Review process and Examination can be found here: www.disabilitywales.org/crpd17
  • For media enquiries, please contact:

Natasha Hirst on 07825 211775 or Natasha.hirst@disabilitywales.org

Follow progress on social media:

@DisabilityWales on Facebook and twitter #CRPD17 #DDPOsGeneva17 #DefendOurRights

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