Sep 082015

We have received lots of emails from the UK, Europe and internationally asking us about the UNCRPD inquiry what it really means and what DPAC actually did. We set out the main questions and answers below:

What is the UNCRPD?

UNCRPD stands for the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The Convention includes a set of Articles or points on the rights of disabled people.  You can see the full text HERE

The Westminster Parliament signed up to respect those rights included in the convention, they also ratified the Optional Protocol 8th June 2009. The Optional Protocol is a very important route for people to challenge any violation of rights by governments or authorities against the UNCRPD


What does the UK ratifying the UNCRPD Optional Protocol mean?

It means that the UK (state party) accepted the competence of the UNCRPD committee to conduct inquiries into the violation of the articles of the UNCRPD. So while anyone in any country can challenge governments through the UNCRPD –an inquiry by the UNCRPD committee can only be conducted under the Optional Protocol and only if that country (or state party) has ratified it. DPAC used the Optional Protocol to initiate the current inquiry into the UK because we saw violations of the rights enshrined in the UNCRPD and that disabled peoples’ rights were going backwards (retrogression of rights)


How was the inquiry initiated?

DPAC initiated the UNCRPD Inquiry using Article 6 of the Optional Protocol meaning that a formal process was carried out by DPAC to submit complaints and submissions. This process meant that documents needed to be written in a particular way with attention to specific Articles within the UNCRPD and that strong evidence needed to be framed accordingly. The use of the UNCRPD Optional Protocol is always a formal process with strict guidelines. It’s not something that people can do by accident or by sending through lists of media articles.


Is the UK inquiry really the first of its kind ever?

Yes, it is the first of its kind against a state party through Article 6 of the Optional Protocol, although inquiries have been conducted for individual complaints previously in other countries this is the first to be against a state party for grave and systematic violations. Also it’s useful to note that individual complaints to the UNCRPD must have first exhausted all domestic channels. That is they need to have exhausted the countries court mechanisms before making a complaint to the UNCRPD.


When did DPAC start doing this?

DPAC first contacted the UNCRPD in 2012. DPAC made it first submission to the UNCRPD committee in 2013 to attempt to initiate the process of inquiry, since then we have been providing further reports and submissions. We had to prove to the committee that there were grave (severe) and systematic (continuous and built into system of welfare ‘reform’ policies) violations (breaking) of rights enshrined in the UNCRPD. We also had to provide strong evidence of retrogression for the inquiry process to happen.


Does the government know about the inquiry?

Yes, they were given official notice of the inquiry in January 2014. They had also made their own submissions to the inquiry process attacking evidence that DPAC had put forward from 2013. However, the UNCRPD committee accepted DPAC’s evidence which is why the inquiry is happening. The devolved governments of Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales are also aware. However the most punitive policies come from Westminster and the Westminster government. The UK as a whole is treated as a state party under the UNCRPD


Who wrote the submissions and produced the evidence for the inquiry?

Three of us wrote the submissions: Debbie Jolly, Linda Burnip and Anita Bellows. We are grateful for the additional input and guidance of Nick Dilworth, Louise Whitfield, Dr David Webster and a person who wishes to remain anonymous who provided excellent admin and other support throughout.


Why didn’t DPAC tell people about the UNCRPD inquiry sooner?

We were told we must keep everything confidential or the inquiry would be halted. We didn’t want that to happen because we knew the inquiry was needed. It was only after the Scottish Herald produced the full details that we decided we needed to step in to stop some of the misconceptions and misunderstandings that were starting around the inquiry.


Early Press stories said that it was the Just Fair report that started the inquiry…

DPAC had also submitted evidence to the 2014 Just Fair report. But this report dealt with a different convention which was the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) People that submit reports under other conventions do not automatically somehow initiate an inquiry-it was quoted in early press pieces that the Just Fair report had somehow kick started an Inquiry by the UNCRPD. But this kind of thing just does not happen if you write a report on one convention ( there are several), it doesn’t suddenly set off a process on another Convention such as the CRPD or any other, despite its wealth of evidence or importance-formal processes need to be followed to initiate an inquiry, as we said earlier.

The Daily Mail has been attacking the inquiry process and says the UNCRPD people are meddling…

What else can we expect from the Mail? As we said the government have been aware of this process since 2013 so the inquiry is no surprise to them. The UK signed up to the UNCRPD and is therefore bound by its contents. There are processes and procedures that the UNCRPD committee must follow and that the government must follow which result in official procedural cooperation between the two. We also saw with the 2013 visit from Raquel Rolink (on the ‘bedroom tax’) that the Mail quoted MPs who said she had come uninvited to ‘interfere’ along with some more colourful accusations against her- again because of international procedures and protocols no person from any UN committee can come to the UK without government knowledge or acceptance first-again the Mail lied and inflamed the proper process of accountability.

Lots of people have written, blogged and raised the issues facing disabled people don’t they deserve credit?

Of course, lots of people have been fighting in lots of different ways and everyone deserves credit for raising the issues consistently-it’s something we must all keep doing

What does DPAC think will be gained through the inquiry?

Because it’s the first of its kind we can’t say –unfortunately we don’t think that things will suddenly return to the way they were in 2009. We don’t want people to think that the inquiry will solve everything because that would be creating false hope. We need to be realistic but also positive-what is happening is that the Conservatives are finally being held to account for their actions

We also hope that the publication and knowledge of the inquiry will aid other countries affected by austerity/ low levels of support to disabled people and the widespread disproportionate impacts on disabled people’s human rights.

We hope it will be of use in bringing other Governments (State Parties) to account through the use of the UNCRPD Optional Protocol. We would like it to provide hope and assistance to active grassroots organisations, where traditional disability organisations and big disability charities fail to act for fear of Government reprisals and/or funding cuts.

DPAC refuses any funds that limit our independence and we always will-we will also fight this and any other government where they destroy disabled peoples’ rights through punitive cuts, policies or actions






[suffusion-the-author display='description']
 Posted by at 21:26

  16 Responses to “So DPAC triggered the UNCRPD inquiry but what does it really mean?”

  1. is dpac telling me when i wrote into the uncrpd and submitted evidence re how uk media via many links i sent from rwing media discriminated on the disabled by demonising us with welfare porn tv/ benefit fraud stories ect, and my own struggles with gov dwp cuts ect and fears of impending esa wca failure and the rest, that my letter wasnt used, that uncrpd didnt recognise media bias, are you saying my time spent doing that very long winded letter showing what human rights i felt were being violated didnt count, because the only submissions were from 4 dpac members, i thought 300 plus disabled wrote in what happened to them were they dismissed. i did also try to show newcastle council basically did impact assessment that said the cuts austerity would lead to destitution hunger ect to catalina devedandas , but that after i sent newcastle removed the link as imo it was evidence that impact assessment was doable. does my imput or attempts to help not mean anything . i know i dont speak legalese but doesnt ordinary effected people need to say how it is damaging our mental health the stress of pip/wcas designed to fail us. by the comment in there saying media links werent used are you telling me what i sent in wasnt used to prove media discrimination and bias, i sent quit a few links in my letter, i can’t remember but they went to scotland . i do hope i dont waste my time campaigning in this way, i think shared stories and personal effects in people of these cuts really need heard , i do this all the time, even though i feel other activists feel i’m selfish for using my story. dpacs done a lot of good, but i’d hate to think only 4 activists voices were used in that campaign. reason i give pensioners a hard time is many think you can’t be ill unless you are older and the usual tory attitudes and discrimination we all get. i do it to try n show them what they haave become reading r wing news ect, me i admit i’m seething with anger . but i’d like to think me n other writers to that campaign didnt waste our time submitting, i heard no more back from it

    • after the inquiry was initiated people’s evidence was used by the UN so I’m sure what you wrote was of great value

  2. It would be nice even to get our what was DLA (indefinite) award reinstated after this disgraceful PIP that the monster IDS destroyed thousands of good folks lives with by taking their motability vehicles from them, He and his cronies want locking up (indefinitely)

  3. Thank you so much DPAC for the tenacity and effort you put in to bring the Govt to account, Thank you too to everyone who contributed to this report it really does mean a lot to the likes of me who have been constantly abused by Govt Press and Media for the past 6 years purely for the crime of having a brain bleed

    I prey for the day that justice brings this Govt to account and rightful support and compensation is given to everyone who has faced the brunt of this attack on the weakest and vulnerable.

  4. Thank you so much for working so hard to make it clear that this Government are attacking the very foundations of fair treatment for people with disabilities.
    Thank you for giving me a reason to keep going so that I might see those responsible brought to justice.

  5. Thank you so much for the efforts you have put into making sure disabled people get treated in a fair and compassionate way, it would also be nice if those individuals , mps , and service providers are bought to book over suicides through worry over sanctions or those that have literally passed as a consequence of not being able to feedfeed or keep medications fresh due to not affording to keep them fresh

    There is plenty of evidence now a coroner has directly linked one death to sanctions , I hope the next government ( not being conservative) in both the Westminster and Scottish parliament will trigger a full open public enquiry into misdemeanors since 2010 , and Atos and now Maximum pay adequate compensations to all disabled people affected

    The mainstream media needs controlling in that it’s never used against disabled folk for the governments business , free press is OK until it used as a propaganda machine

    Again thank you , Andrew M

  6. When a government is wholly responsible through its policies, for many deaths, they, and the people that followed the legislation to the letter, KNOWING the suffering it woukd cause,nCAN be held accountable under the Convention for the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide ! There is no Parliamentary immunity for the likes of Ian Duncan Smith and Esther McVey etc, and Job Centre staff, Job Centre managers, even the PSC Union that represents Job Centre staff…….can all be held accountable!

    Also. Atos and Maximus’s medical ‘assessor’s’, have to take the Hippocratic Oath not to cause suffering to patients, so can be struck off from practice! Even if they have come abroad, they still have to adhere to this oath and the rules regarding operating a medical practice, and as they have clearly been proved to be biased towards Government policies and negligence, we also have EVERY right to sue Atos and Maximus for medical negligence!

    I estimate compensation claims in the future to be around £20 billion!

  7. I hope for nothing more than an independent body to highlight the systemic abuse of Disabled people not only re benefit system but a number of erroneous deliberately misleading statements given to the press which has created mistrust of disabled people and hate crimes.

  8. Real reason govts tryin ta abolish Human Rights Act before bedroom tax supreme court case in March

  9. My video, first hand experience of abuse

  10. The United Kingdom Need’s to be Run as a Public Service and Provider of Public Services Not a
    Business .

    The Ethos of Public Service through the Adequate Provision of Public Services

  11. If the results of the enquiry, when published only serve to raise awareness of the ‘normal’ public of how our rights have been violated, then that in itself will be a major achievement. Hopefully it will stop some of the hatred and crime against disabled people by those who have been brainwashed by the government, and the gutter press in collaboration to observe us and decide that we are undeserving scroungers.

  12. So proud to be associated with DPAC, you are the voice of every disabled person in the UK.

  13. I remember Peter Tatchell attempting to hand Mugabe a list of human rights violations in Zimbadwe. I wonder if he’ll end up representing Dave with a similar dossier?

  14. Thank you so much for all your hard work.

    Now disabled people are being described as not ‘normal’.

    How far can this Govt be allowed to go in its persecution of the poor, the jobless & the disabled without being held accountable.

    Please don’t let it last as long as Chilcott


 Leave a Reply

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>



For security, use of Google's reCAPTCHA service is required which is subject to the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

I agree to these terms.