Released On 21st Aug 2023
New report on disability rights
A new Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) report highlights continuing inaction from governments in addressing disability rights.
In a new report submitted to the United Nations (UN), the EHRC warns that many disabled people continue to face discrimination in the UK, and the situation continues to worsen, particularly in light of current cost-of-living pressures.
Produced in collaboration with the other equality bodies and national human rights institutions (NHRIs) in Britain and Northern Ireland, the report follows a 2016 UN inquiry into the state of rights for disabled people in the UK, after which the UN published a list of 11 recommendations for the UK Government to protect the rights of disabled people. This inquiry was held under the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities' (CRPD) Optional Protocol.
This latest report assesses the extent to which the previous UN recommendations have been implemented. It shows that, despite limited or some progress in certain areas, the EHRC is disappointed to see no progress against some other recommendations. While commitments to address some issues have been made, actions have been delayed or don’t go far enough.
As the cost-of-living crisis deepens, many of the recommendations made in 2016 are even more relevant now, with over half of disabled people struggling to pay their energy bills in 2022, the EHRC’s report concludes. Disabled people also often face long wait times between applying for and receiving benefits, and they are more likely to use food banks than non-disabled people.
The EHRC has stressed the danger of a continuing failure by the UK and Welsh governments to make necessary reforms, including to address problems with the welfare system, poor engagement with disabled people and their organisations in many parts of the UK, and inadequate public services for disabled people, leaving them at a higher risk of poverty, abuse and poor health.
Kishwer Falkner, Chairwoman of the EHRC, said, 'Alongside other human rights and equality bodies in Britain and Northern Ireland, we urge the governments in London and Cardiff to address the problems faced by disabled people and take action to address the UN’s recommendations from 2016.
'Disabled people must be treated with dignity, respect and fairness. The recommendations made years ago must be addressed if the lives of disabled people are to improve.'
Dr Rhidian Hughes, Chief Executive of the Voluntary Organisations Disability Group (VODG), said, 'It is deeply concerning that seven years after the initial findings of the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities to improve the lives of disabled people across the UK, evidence again finds the Government to be failing disabled people.
'Despite some progress having been made, and the ongoing commitment and efforts of disabled people, their families and those who support them; the Committee rightly highlights many areas of reform, including welfare support, health provision and engagement with disabled people and their organisations, that are severely lacking.
'As VODG’s Commission on COVID-19, Ableism and Racism recently found, Government does not meaningfully engage with disabled people and therefore policy decisions are made that exacerbate rather than address the unacceptable inequalities disabled people face.
'As a country we must do better. Disabled people have equal rights to live the lives they choose and access the health and other public services they need without challenge. Unless Government changes the way it makes decisions to truly include and represent disabled people, it will continue to fail large swathes of the population directly and indirectly effected by disability.'
Visit the EHRC website to read its new report in full.
In other news, a new report sets out to involve the voluntary, community, faith and social enterprise sector more in health and social care research.