The United Nations recently published its report into the government’s progress in fulfilling its commitments to the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, to which the UK has been a signatory since 2007.
The report concluded that the UK has failed to ensure that the Convention – which enshrines the rights of disabled people to live independently, to work and to enjoy social protection without discrimination – is reflected in UK law and policy. In particular, the report noted the rising numbers of disabled children educated in segregated schools and warned of high levels of poverty for disabled people and their families.
The government has argued that the report does not reflect the evidence it gave to the UN and says it is committed to furthering rights and opportunities for disabled people. However, in October 2016, the UN found that the UK government had committed ‘grave and systematic violations’ to the Convention and made a series of recommendations. In its most recent review, the UN found that progress in implementing these recommendations was ‘uneven’ and ‘insufficient’.
The government is still failing to apply a human rights model of disability, or to properly consult disabled people in the implementation of the Convention. It is also failing to address concerns about the impact of austerity measures which have increased levels of poverty among disabled people.
At the 2017 General Election I stood on a manifesto that committed to transform our social security system and to reverse a number of cuts in social security support, in addition to scrapping the current sanctions regime. It also pledged to fully incorporate the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities into UK law. I will continue to press the government to act urgently on the UN’s recommendations and to fulfil our obligations under the UN Convention.