In 2017 the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities will be examining the UK’s compliance with the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD). This is an opportunity for disabled people in the UK to let the Committee know the big human rights issues that we face – and for the Committee to learn whether, for instance, disabled people are enjoying the right to be included in the community, the right to education, to work, to access to justice (and more). After their examination of the UK they will produce a report, to which the UK Government has to respond publicly.
Before the Committee comes to the UK they will receive a report from civil society organisations – led by organisations led by disabled people. The England and Wales report will be put together by Disability Rights UK and Disability Wales; and the Scotland report by Inclusion Scotland. We will then also link together and with colleagues in Northern Ireland to give a full GB and UK focus.
(For more information on the Committee and the UNCRPD see http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/CRPD/Pages/CRPDIndex.aspx)
In England and Wales we will be:
- Building on and crediting what disabled people have already said and done on the UN Convention – not re-inventing the wheel
- Holding 10 events in the Autumn (3 in Wales, 7 in England) to enable as many people as possible to help shape the report
- Inviting evidence on-line
- Making sure that people whose voices are not always heard can feed in – for instance, people living with dementia or learning difficulties – and that we cover the rights of people in institutions or subject to compulsion, for instance in relation to mental health or mental capacity law.
Liz Sayce, CEO of Disability Rights UK, said: “Disabled people across the world campaigned concertedly for this UN Convention. Rather like when women won the vote or campaigners brought an end to apartheid, the creation of the UNCRPD was a fundamental milestone for disabled people. It establishes the fundamental rights and freedoms – to participate fully in society and to be free of discrimination. The examination of the UK is an opportunity to put a spotlight on the lack of rights many disabled people still experience, and to provide a platform for change. We hope disabled people around England and Wales will want to get involved”
Rhian Davies, Chief Executive of Disability Wales said: “the UNCRPD recognises that disabled people have the same rights as everyone else to freedom, respect, equality and dignity. As well as bringing together all our basic human rights in one place, it also describes what government has agreed to do to make these rights real. The UNCRPD Committee will scrutinise the actions of both the UK and Welsh Governments, drawing on information provided by disabled people across England and Wales on the extent to which their rights ‘on paper’ have become an everyday reality. The project provides a golden opportunity for everyone to have their say.”
Lord Chris Holmes, the EHRC’s Disability Commissioner, said: “The participation of disabled people in making disability rights a reality is absolutely essential, and a cornerstone of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The EHRC is delighted to be funding this project to bring together disabled people and their organisations across England and Wales to report on how well the UN Convention is being put into practice.”
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We are grateful to the Equality and Human Rights Commission for funding this work.