Nov 072016
 

The long awaited report from the UN about our governments attacks on disabled people was published at 4pm today. You can read the full report here: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/CRPD/Pages/InquiryProcedure.aspx

We will have a lot more to say about this in future posts but for now here are the summary of findings of the report:


Summary of the findings

A. General findings

82. The facts submitted by the source were disputed by the State party. The Committee engaged in a verification exercise in which the facts that appeared to be controversial were cross-checked with data collected from a variety of sources, including parliamentary inquiries, reports of the independent monitoring body of the Convention, official statistics, reports and data originating from other government departments or units, entity governments, research institutes, service providers, academic centres, independent experts, former government officers, grass-roots non-governmental organizations, organizations of persons with disabilities and individuals. In some cases, some State party’s statements were not supported by evidence collected by the investigation. In others, the State party indicated that no data were available. The findings below are based on a comprehensive analysis of data provided by various sources.

83. The State party launched, a considerable time ago, a major policy reform to the welfare system, aimed at reducing the fiscal deficit and achieving in 2020 a surplus in its balance of payments. Various policy documents and statements by high-level ranking officers have stated that this is the most fundamental policy change to the social protection system in recent decades. The stated goals of the policy are to transform British society from a low-wage, low-employment and high-welfare society to a high-wage, high-employment and low-welfare one. The policy makes the assumption that individuals are better off in work, dependency on benefits is in itself counterproductive and perpetuates poverty and beneficiaries of welfare benefits need to move into work both through improvement of incentives to employment and through a system of conditionality and sanctions. The policy intends that sectors of society who have been dependant on benefits move into work. It has also been stated that the policy aims at protecting those people who require more support or who are “most vulnerable”.

84. Changes to the welfare system include the overhauling of a wide range of entitlements in several areas, including social and private housing sector, contributory and non-contributory benefits, tax credits and out-of-work and in-work benefits and have affected all segments of the population, including children, women, single parents, older persons and persons with disabilities. With regard to persons with disabilities, the reform resulted in the overhauling of major disability benefits, including means-tested benefits, income-maintenance benefits and benefits related to the specific and extra costs associated with disability. In the period covered by the inquiry, a large number of persons with disabilities have been requested to undergo capability assessments, with pre-implementation assumptions that a significant percentage would no longer rely on social allowances.

85. The roll out of those policies included the issuing of statements by high-ranking officers that the reform was aimed at making the welfare system fairer to taxpayers and more balanced and transparent and reducing benefit fraud. Persons with disabilities have been regularly portrayed negatively as being dependent or making a living out of benefits, committing fraud as benefit claimants, being lazy and putting a burden on taxpayers, who are paying “money for nothing”. Although the State party produced evidence of formal efforts and public awareness campaigns to improve the image of persons with disabilities, the inquiry collected evidence that persons with disabilities continue to experience increasing hostility, aggressive behaviour and sometimes attacks to their personal integrity. The inquiry also found no substantiation of the alleged benefit fraud by persons with disabilities.

86. Public sector equality duty obliges State authorities to carry out impact assessments when they plan to introduce measures, including legislative measures, to ensure that groups with protected characteristics, among them persons with disabilities, are properly consulted and any adverse impact on them is properly justified. The State party submitted evidence that it has complied with domestic legal duties for all the intended changes to the welfare system. The inquiry collected evidence that a major piece of legislation of the welfare reform, the Welfare Reform Act 2012, was not thoroughly compliant with those requirements. Similarly, a court of law found that the decision to close the Independent Living Fund was not in compliance with domestic equality duty, which compelled the authorities of the State party to carry out another equality assessment. The inquiry also collected evidence that the views of persons with disabilities and their representative organizations who had participated in consultations launched by the State party, were not meaningfully taken into account in the decision-making and had little or no influence on policy decisions.

87. Although the State party asserted that a cumulative impact assessment of the various policy measures affecting persons with disabilities was not technically feasible or practicable, the evidence collected by the inquiry indicates that a cumulative impact assessment could have been conducted with the data and information available in the State party.

88. The Committee observes that various pieces of legislation related to recent welfare policies do not fully enforce the international human rights framework related to social protection and independent living. In connection thereto, it was observed that in the field of social protection, persons with disabilities have not been properly considered as right-holders and entitled to benefits with regard to their right to social protection. Similarly, while the Care Act 2014 reflects the principles of well-being of persons with disabilities and underlines the objective of personalization of support packages, it fails to properly acknowledge the elements of autonomy and control and choice, which are intrinsic to the right to independent living as referred to in article 19 of the Convention.

89. The Committee observes the prevalence of the medical approach in assessment procedures for determining the eligibility of persons with disabilities to entitlements. The main assessment procedure for determining eligibility for out-of-work benefits resulted in persons with disabilities being classified as either unable to perform work-related activity, having limited capability to work or fit to work. The above-mentioned assessment failed to take in account the support persons with disabilities need to perform a job or the complex nature of some impairments and conditions, or reflect the human rights-based approach to disability.

90. The Committee observes that persons with disabilities who have undergone functional assessments aimed at determining their eligibility for social benefits felt that they were merely processed rather than being listened to or understood. The inquiry was informed that several measures have been adopted to make adjustments to procedures to improve service delivery, including the time frame for the assessment procedures, and ensure a better understanding of the diversity of persons with disability by assessors. The evidence collected from various sources indicates that the needs, views and personal history of persons with disabilities, and particularly those requiring high levels of support such as persons with intellectual and/or psychosocial disabilities, were not properly taken into account or given appropriate weight in the decisions affecting them.

91. The inquiry collected evidence indicating that information, advice and counselling provided to persons with disabilities about different steps in the assessment processes and decisions about their entitlements was limited, non-existent or not provided in accessible formats and languages. That was coupled with uncertainty about the outcomes of those processes triggering anxiety, psychological strain and financial hardship. The Committee also collected evidence about persons with disabilities whose mental health condition had severely deteriorated as a result of the aforementioned factors.

92. Evidence indicates that legal aid to challenge administrative decisions ending or curtailing their benefits before first-tier tribunals has been restricted. Legal aid for cases before those tribunals has also been curtailed. Similarly, access to review by an independent and impartial tribunal has been restricted by the introduction of mandatory reconsideration procedures before the same administrative entity that has ruled on benefits.

93. Evidence indicates that State party authorities carried out surveys and regularly published statistics about welfare reform. States party authorities also cooperated with parliamentary inquiries and provided answers to the recommendations issued by that oversight body. However, there is no evidence of periodic monitoring and evaluation activities involving persons with disabilities and their representative organizations about the impact of the implementation of measures.

94. Evidence was produced about mitigating measures put in place by central authorities to support persons with disabilities in coping with the curtailing of their social security benefits. Evidence was also produced indicating that those mitigating measures were of a temporary nature for individuals concerned by the measures, not regularly offered or known by claimants affected by decisions and not sustainable enough to outweigh the financial impact of the reduction or suppression of income-maintenance benefits. The Committee also observes that the devolved administrations in Scotland and Wales had put in place mitigation measures and takes note of the mitigation plan agreed upon in Northern Ireland.

B. Living independently and being included in the community (art. 19)

95. The Committee observed throughout the inquiry process that the interaction of various reforms on welfare schemes, in particular changes in housing benefits, the establishment of a cap on household benefits, changes in eligibility criteria for the “moving around” component under the new Personal Independence Payment, tightening of criteria to access social care and the closure of the Independent Living Fund in the State party, have disproportionately affected persons with disabilities and hindered various aspects of their right to live independently and be included in the community.

96. The Committee is concerned that the set of reforms has limited the right of persons with disabilities to choose their residence on an equal basis with others, resulting in persons experiencing increasing reliance on family and/or kinship carers, reduction in their social interaction, increased isolation and, in certain cases, institutionalization. The deinstitutionalization process in the State party has been adversely affected.

97. The Committee is of the view that changes in housing benefits, specifically the implementation of the social housing size criteria through the reduction in social housing welfare payments referred to as “the spare room subsidy”, the establishment of a cap on household benefits and changes in local housing allowances for private-sector tenants have curtailed the right of persons with disabilities to choose a place of residence in accordance with article 19 of the Convention. The Committee notes that, in multiple cases, social housing size criteria failed to recognize the specific living arrangements that persons with disabilities require in connection with their impairment and respect of their autonomy, will and preferences. The Committee observes that measures have caused financial hardship to persons with disabilities resulting in, inter alia, arrears, debts, evictions and cuts to essentials such as housing and food. The Committee, while noting that Discretionary Housing Payments have been established as a form of mitigation, observes that the concerns and views of the Special Rapporteur on adequate housing as a component of the right to an adequate standard of living, and on the right to non-discrimination in this context (see A/HRC/25/54/Add.2) persist.

98. Evidence indicates that persons with disabilities affected by cuts in their housing benefits have undergone high levels of stress, anxiety and depression as a consequence of the shortfalls in their budget and the costs to recover financial stability. In many cases, the implementation of welfare measures has reinforced the dependency of persons with disabilities on informal and/or family care and has hindered deinstitutionalization plans.

99. The Independent Living Fund in the State party has been closed to new claimants since 2010 and was definitively closed in June 2015. The funds transferred from the central administration to local authorities under the scheme of localization were not ring-fenced in England, affecting the majority of former Fund users. It was observed that social care packages have been reduced in the context of further budgetary constraints at the local level. The Committee finds that former Fund claimants have seen the support they received from local authorities substantially reduced, to the extent that their essential needs in areas such as daily personal care are not sufficiently covered. The Committee takes note of the decision made by the devolved administrations in Scotland and Northern Ireland for the maintenance of schemes equivalent to the former Independent Living Fund, as well as in Wales. However, it remains concerned about the lack of acceptance of new applicants to the fund in Northern Ireland.

100. According to the Care Act 2014, social care provisions and schemes realize the principle of well-being. However, the information brought to the attention of the Committee demonstrated increasing financial hardship for persons with disabilities at the local level and the reduction in time and quality of social care services for those persons who are considered “not having substantial or critical levels of need”. Prioritization and tightening of eligibility criteria for adult social care has been implemented on a regular basis, adversely affecting persons with disabilities who are not being supported to the extent that they need. The Committee gathered evidence indicating that the level of care has diminished, affecting older persons with disabilities, and received testimonies about the reduction in time for visits by social carers, who in certain cases are limited to 15-minute visits to assist persons with disabilities with basic needs such as meals and personal hygiene. It was observed that the reduction in the provision of support services at the local level has curtailed the ability of persons with disabilities to take part in community life.

101. The State party provided information about measures to transfer more responsibilities to local authorities and the personalization of budgets for personal care. The Committee, however, received evidence that personal care packages have been reduced and that the availability of support is established on the basis of what is considered to be an affordable service in the market, rather than on the specific needs of the person concerned. The Committee received evidence that personal budgets do not necessarily allow persons with disabilities to have access and control over social care services and restrict the level of personal assistance they receive.

C. Work and employment (art. 27)

102. Evidence indicates several flaws in the processes related to the Employment and Support Allowance. In particular, the Committee notes that, despite several adjustments made to the Work Capability Assessment, the assessment has continued to be focused on a functional evaluation of skills and capabilities, and puts aside personal circumstances and needs, and barriers faced by persons with disabilities to return to employment, particularly those of persons with intellectual and/or psychosocial disabilities. In the initial period covered by the present report, evidence indicates a significant percentage of assessments were overturned by tribunals.

103. Despite the training delivered to assessors and decision makers, evidence indicates a persisting lack of awareness and limited knowledge of disability rights and the specific needs of persons with disabilities, particularly of persons with intellectual and/or psychosocial disabilities. The Committee also collected evidence of lack of reasonable accommodation and inaccessible information about the assessment process.

104. While the Committee notes the effort of the authorities to shorten the length of mandatory reconsideration procedures, evidence indicates that claimants requesting reconsideration have frequently experienced long waiting periods. The Committee also observes that, during the mandatory reconsideration procedure, Employment and Support Allowance benefits are suspended.

105. Evidence collected points to significant hardship, including financial, material and psychological, experienced by persons with disabilities undergoing assessments. Persons who have been compelled to undergo a new assessment shortly after a first assessment have been particularly affected.

106. The number of sanctions of claimants in the Employment and Support Allowance work-related activity group has increased significantly between 2012 and 2014, and evidence indicates that they have been applied in a disproportionate manner. Opportunities to apply for hardship payments exist, but few people appear to have been informed thereof; the payments are also modest, discretionary, subject to strict access rules and of a temporary nature. Evidence indicates that claimants who have been sanctioned have faced financial hardship, including through becoming indebted, relying on the support of relatives or on food banks or having reduced essential services.

107. Various programmes have been designed to encourage persons with disabilities to move into paid employment. The two main programmes, the Work Programme and Job Centre Plus, where persons with disabilities were mostly referred, had no visible impact in decreasing unemployment among them. Persons with disabilities who have had access to other programmes that have been more successful have experienced reductions in the support provided to them, in some cases resulting in loss of employment. Evidence indicates that the Work Programme helped persons with disabilities back to work to a very limited extent and that persons with substantial support needs were left aside.

108. The situation of persons with disabilities deemed “fit to work” is not monitored as such. Those who have re-entered the system by claiming the Job Seeker’s Allowance to support them until they find work face stringent levels of conditions and sanctions, which do not take into account the specific barriers they face. The Committee was informed that, in some cases, sanctions had led to financial hardship for persons with disabilities, and particularly persons with intellectual and/or psychosocial disabilities.

109. The State party initially stated that it did not monitor deaths that occurred after assessments. Evidence gathered during the inquiry indicated that, in 2012 and 2015, such information was released by the Department of Work and Pension following freedom of information requests. Additionally, information originated from official sources indicated that 33 deaths of claimants who died after being assessed were being examined. The State party claims that there is no causal link. The Committee is not aware of any attempts at objective, thorough, open and impartial investigation regarding those deaths by an independent body.

D. Adequate standard of living and social protection (art. 28)

110. The Committee had access to official statistics indicating that, overall, households with one or more persons with disabilities are more likely to have a relatively low income than households without persons with disabilities. The Committee was presented with evidence that changes operated in the welfare system had had a more negative impact on households with persons with disabilities, especially on those living on low income.

111. The Committee observes that equality impact assessments carried out by authorities for various welfare benefits did foresee that a large number of persons with disabilities would be affected by policy changes. The Committee also received evidence that the cumulative impact in the reduction of welfare benefits has led persons with disabilities to struggle to maintain minimum level of income, driving many into increased dependency on relatives and increased levels of indebtedness and resulting in an inability to manage the bare essentials and recourse to food banks.

112. The authorities foresaw that the transition from Disability Living Allowance to Personal Independence Payment would result in 620,000 fewer people receiving Personal Independence Payments and would represent a 20 per cent saving in expenditure. The eligibility criteria and the threshold for qualifying for Personal Independence Payments have been tightened, with the result that many claimants with moderate or lower levels of support have been excluded from the benefit. Similarly, the tightening of the eligibility criteria for the mobility component has resulted in Personal Independence Payments beneficiaries losing their entitlements to that component. Persons were reassessed based on functional criteria and evidence indicates that, despite assurances that the assessment period would be shortened, there were claimants experiencing long waiting periods. Information also indicates that the authorities intend to further reduce the support available to access assistive devices.

E. Systematic violations of the Convention

113. Consequently, the Committee considers that there is reliable evidence that the threshold of grave or systematic violations of the rights of persons with disabilities has been met in the State party. That conclusion is based on the following findings:

(a) The State party has implemented a policy aimed at reforming its welfare system and the reforms have been justified in the context of austerity measures to achieve fiscal and budgetary policy consolidation;

(b) The assumptions made under the policy include that: taxpayers need to be treated with fairness; large numbers of persons with disabilities have been relying and dependent on social benefits; persons are better off in work than on benefits; the dependency of persons with disabilities on benefits is in itself a disincentive to move them into employment; the number of persons with disabilities relying on social benefits were to be decreased; and tightening sanctions and conditionality of social benefits is a legitimate tool for incentivizing their moving into employment;

(c) The impact assessments conducted by the State party prior to the implementation of several measures of its welfare reform expressly foresaw an adverse impact on persons with disabilities;

(d) Several measures have disproportionally and adversely affected the rights of persons with disabilities;

(e) Measures resulting in reduction of support provided to meet the extra cost of disability, denial of reasonable accommodation in assessment procedures and realization of the right to employment have had a discriminatory effect on persons with disabilities;

(f) The core elements of the rights to independent living and being included in the community, an adequate standard of living and social protection and their right to employment have been affected: persons with disabilities affected by policy changes have had their freedom of choice and control over their daily activities restricted, the extra cost of disability has been set aside and income protection has been curtailed as a result of benefit cuts, while the expected policy goal of achieving decent and stable employment is far from being attained;

(g) There is evidence that a large number of persons with disabilities have been affected (e.g. 13,900 persons with disabilities have lost their Motability schemes and therefore their adapted cars, upon implementation of Personal Independence Payment up to February 2016; 492,180 had been placed in the Employment and Support Allowance work-related activity group by end of 2015; 41,792 Employment and Support Allowance work-related activity group sanctions were handed out up to March 2014);

(h) Evidence gathered nationally by the Parliament, the independent monitoring framework, universities and research institutes and centres and independent experts, has documented adverse and disproportionate effects of measures on persons with disabilities;

(i) The State party has not conducted a comprehensive human rights-based cumulative impact assessment even though reliable sources have indicated it is feasible;

(j) The State party continues its policy of reducing social benefits of persons with disabilities as reflected in the Welfare Reform and Work Act 2016.

VIII. Recommendations

114. The Committee recommends that the State party:

(a) Conduct a cumulative impact assessment of the measures adopted since 2010, referred to in the present report, on the rights to independent living and to be included in the community, social protection and employment of persons with disabilities. The State party should ensure that such assessment is rights-based and meaningfully involves persons with disabilities and their representative organizations;

(b) Ensure that any intended measure of the welfare reform is rights-based, upholds the human rights model of disability and does not disproportionately and/or adversely affect the rights of persons with disabilities to independent living, an adequate standard of living and employment. To prevent adverse consequences, the States party should carry out human rights-based cumulative impact assessments of the whole range of intended measures that would have an impact on the rights of persons with disabilities;

(c) Ensure that: any intended legislation and/or policy measure respects the core elements of the rights analysed in the present report; persons with disabilities retain their autonomy, choice and control over their place of residence and with whom they live; they receive appropriate and individualized support, including through personal assistance, and have access to community-based services on an equal basis with others; they have access to security social schemes that ensure income protection, including in relation to the extra cost of disability, that is compatible with an adequate standard of living and ensure their full inclusion and participation in society; and they have access and are supported in gaining employment in the open labour market on an equal basis with others;

(d) Ensure that public budgets take into account the rights of persons with disabilities, that sufficient budget allocations are made available to cover extra costs associated with living with a disability and that appropriate mitigation measures, with appropriate budget allocations, are in place for persons with disabilities affected by austerity measures;

(e) Introduce all adjustments necessary to make all information, communications, administrative and legal procedures in relation to social security entitlements, independent living schemes and employment/unemployment-related support services fully accessible to all persons with disabilities;

(f) Ensure access to justice, by providing appropriate legal advice and support, including through reasonable and procedural accommodation for persons with disabilities seeking redress and reparation for the alleged violation of their rights, as covered in the present report;

(g) Actively consult and engage with persons with disabilities through their representative organizations and give due consideration to their views in the design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of any legislation, policy or programme action related to the rights addressed in the present report;

(h) Take appropriate measures to combat any negative and discriminatory stereotypes or prejudice against persons with disabilities in public and the media, including that dependency on benefits is in itself a disincentive of employment; implement broad mass media campaigns, in consultation with organizations representing persons with disabilities, particularly those affected by the welfare reform, to promote them as full rights holders, in accordance with the Convention; and adopt measures to address complaints of harassment and hate crime by persons with disabilities, promptly investigate those allegations, hold the perpetrators accountable and provide fair and appropriate compensation to victims;

(i) Ensure that, in the implementation of legislation, policies and programmes, special attention is paid to persons with disabilities living with a low income or in poverty and persons with disabilities at higher risk of exclusion, such as persons with intellectual, psychosocial or multiple disabilities and women, children and older persons with disabilities. Those measures should be put in place within contributive and non-contributive regimes;

(j) Set up a mechanism and a system of human rights-based indicators to permanently monitor the impact of the different policies and programmes relating to the access and enjoyment by persons with disabilities of the right to social protection and an adequate standard of living, the right to live independently and be included in the community and the right to work, in close consultation with persons with disabilities and their representative organizations in all regions and countries that constitute the State party;

(k) Respond to the present report within the time limit prescribed under the Optional Protocol, widely disseminate the Committee’s findings and recommendations and provide appropriate follow-up to the recommendations of the present report, including during the consideration of the State party’s initial report before the Committee.

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 Posted by at 17:11

  38 Responses to “The UN Report into UK Government maltreatment of disabled people has been published”

  1. conservative government should be sued by european union for human rights abuses we are currently still member state

  2. this is a tory uk, programe of genocide against the sick disabled & very vunerable ,started by brown an then pm !!,blair in 2005,pure and simple,why arnt members of this scum tory government & others atos /maximus,not on trial in the hague for crimes against humanity,?? how much longer is this persecution and dreadfull loss of life going to continue for is the country the eu & the rest of the world blind,??? 55.000 lives lost to date at least,if that was another country are british troops would be deployed to stop this ,very grave situation in any land around the world,,see the late labour mp micheal Meacher,in his statement in house of commons jan 2013 using the goverments own figures ,of some 11.600 premature deaths between 2010 to 2012.as a direct result in the tory gov cut backs against sick an disabled in our country,labour now know it was a mistake,but Teresa may tory pm is going for more cuts and to privitise completely our nhs hospitals within 5 years,more tory abuse against the most vunerable in our country,,for god sakes use your vote and get shut of this tory scum before its to late..

  3. I say bring in the basic income that the government say is too costly.Labour want to replace all benefits with this system that guarantees people money regardless. But the Tories think this is money for nothing,but I say this is encouraging people to get a job in what they already do,their own time.Job centres are just a corporate bullying system by people that are lazy & have never done a days work in their life.they get a stupid fee for half a days work,& don’t need another job through it.The UN should force the governments hand & bring this system in.

  4. And what has this report achieved for people being hounded to death???

    Absolutely nothing!!!!!

    The callous Conservatives are just ignoring this report and continuing with their Final Solution policy towards the poor, the sick and the vulnerable!

    This government IS murdering people!

    55,0000 it is estimated!

    And NOTHING is being done about it?????

    NOTHING!!!!!

    Yet under this report, we have EVERY RIGHT under Articles 2 & 4 of the Convention for the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, to bring charges every single individual responsible for this Genocide!

    • Totally agree. The UN themselves should have brought charges against these murderers, but then again, they are toothless tigers, and have been for years, whilst taking our money by pretending to keep people safe and in peace. LOAD OF WINDBAG BOLLOCKS.

  5. “109. The State party initially stated that it did not monitor deaths that occurred after assessments. Evidence gathered during the inquiry indicated that, in 2012 and 2015, such information was released by the Department of Work and Pension following freedom of information requests. Additionally, information originated from official sources indicated that 33 deaths of claimants who died after being assessed were being examined. The State party claims that there is no causal link. The Committee is not aware of any attempts at objective, thorough, open and impartial investigation regarding those deaths by an independent body.”

    It seems our Government did not mention the other 9997 then.

    It is good to read an un-biased review of our benefits system, from a source outside our country. It makes me feel a lot more hopeful that something can be done, because I can see, that people outside of Britain feel this system has big failings. It is not just the view of people ‘on the ground’ inside Britain who see this. Hopefully some of the people in Britain, who have power to make changes to this system, will also see it, and make the needed changes quickly, before we loose anymore good people to despair and starvation.

  6. If there were enough of us who, collectively organised ourselves with legal help freely donated, we could sue the government for the crimes committed as outlined above.
    We can take the action ourselves.
    We need assistance though with this.
    Is anyone going to help us??
    I wasn’t able to read all the way through the report. I have some cognitive difficulties due to a brain injury at the place I used to work.

  7. It comes as no suprise that people with disabilities are being systematically discriminated against by our own government, I’m one of them. Not only have I endured ATOS for ESA I’m still going through it for PIP… I can tell you that I am genuinely terrified – ATOS staff lied at my last “consultation” and I fear they will do the same again. It is diabolical that the most vulnerable are repeatedly victimised and abused but what’s worse is the fact that it is still going on with absolute impunity and there are no signs of things changing.

  8. Cynically released during US election fever, this government is attempting to hide its disgrace in US election fever. We cannot allow that to happen! Please bombard your MP, share on Facebook…do whatever you can to stop this being swept under the carpet.

  9. What is the Labour Party response to the UN Report ? The conclusions are clear enough.
    So now what will Labour actually do about this, other than waffle and evasions ?

    • Willy Bach is a Labour Peer. The Bach Commission has just published a report on access to legal aid. All citizens have a democratic right to challenge bad laws through the judicial review process, but once legal aid was cut for judicial review only rich people could afford to challenge bad laws. See the Equality & Diversity Forum article:
      The Bach Commission on access to justice: EDF response and interim report
      http://www.edf.org.uk/blog/the-bach-commission-on-access-to-justice-call-for-evidence/

      The Labour Party has women’s officers in almost all CLP, but has no disability officers. This needs to be addressed immediately. I’m going to get in contact with Debbie Abrahams next week to suggest this.

  10. As an over weight disabled pensioner whose suffered from Hashimoto’s and Cystic ovarian cancer, whereby my thyroid was taken by my disease and ovaries and womb taken al so, lso no natural hormones since i was 30. I have been abused by people calling me fat, and that if i didn’t stuff my face i would not need a scooter…I suffer from Auto immune diseases, Sjogrens. Raynaud’s, which impedes ability to regulate my body heat, so if i need warmth in the cold weather i have to have the heating on full, and no… many clothes don’t make a difference. as it will affect that which is not covered. I have Parkinson’s, which makes me shake and i am off balance and have been made fun off for being drunk. I have fractures metal plates in my ankle, L1, fracture broke my pelvis symphysis, misaligned pubis, spondylosis and curved spine, through falls crushed my nerves so cannot walk. No family near where i live, i am alone with no help and just a basic pension lifetime DLA and middle care, and an adapted car. i have been terrified, making me very ill with anxiety for 4 years and i mean frightened that i will have no quality of life if they take my car away…….THIS is the reality of what they have done to us pensioners, and we are not even in the work bracket, if i was born in 1948 i would not have to have to change to pip but i am a year before so i have to be assessed… what difference does a year make to someone who is so sick??? where do they get their ideas from or yardstick..I empathise with all who suffer regardless of age or circumstance… and don’t get me started on those sleeping rough.. God help us, we need sanity back, we need reason and care. My mother died 30 years ago and she had better care than the elderly now… i pray this is going to change, and i hope they can be taken to court for their lack of basic human rights. Sorry for writing a novello.. x

  11. Right.. The UNHCR has made these Findings after our input and they ask for a response from the UK Government. What do you think is going to happen now? Is the UK Government bound to respond? Or even make any changes? NO! I don’t think so. Don’t you see they already wants to get out of Europe {ECHR} altogether. I don’t think any thing will be done. The UK Government is a draconian hell-bent destructive government all endorsed by the inhumane Family Courts and uncaring Social Services. {not forgetting corrupt Solicitors, Police, Home staff, CAFCASS and the NHS staff}

  12. There isn’t anything in the above that I didn’t expect to be there. We know it, we’ve lived it, it is undeniable except of course to the new torturer in chief Green.
    His statement yesterday in the Daily Fascist was pure IDS on steroids. So full of holes it was almost laughable. “the UN is only bothered about how much money you spend not on what you spend….” later he rants “we have increased the amount of money spent….” and his classic of “well that’s not policy now anyway nah nah nah”.
    So basically more of the same from the party of conscious cruelty where work will…… cure you!

    • Replying to all of the commenters who have said nothing will come of this report. You are possibly partly right in that nothing will happen immediately, the UN has no power to force the UK government to do anything, so on its own this UN report will not bring change for the better.
      BUT it is a big blow struck against this government, the very last thing they want is publicity for the the atrocities they have perpetrated against disabled people in the UK and this report will bring international attention to what is happening here. Also it is now on record that the UN recognises that Grave and Systematic violations of our human rights have occured. This is vindication of what DPAC, Black Triangle and a host of other campaign groups have been saying for six years.
      The publication of this report should is not the only thing that is happening, tomorrow the supreme court rules on a bedroom tax case. On the 17th November Parliament debates the ESA cut again. All of these events bring publicity to our cause. In DPAC we are already planning next steps to take the fightback to the government.
      This battle has been going on since before this government were first elected, right back to when the WCA came in, back in 2008, and its not going to be over quickly, but we are turning things around, steadily and surely. Public opinion has turned against the government’s attacks on disabled people. Even tory MPs are starting to get worried that the Tory “brand” will be toxified by the association with attacks on disabled people so the mood of the country really is shifting our way.
      In DPAC we are very aware that harm is being done to disabled people right now and we’re doing everything we can think of to try to bring change for the better.

      • In my Capita assessment I was bullied for over half an hour on if I could ‘just’ make a simple sandwich – said in a way that ‘are you a stupid invalid?!?’ we tried telling her on some days, maybe…. But I have a slight wheat intolerance and really bad Gerd On top of my other conditions. This came back that I could make my own meals all the time….

        Oh and being wheelchair bound, and crutches in the house is a zero for mobility.

        Ive been fighting for years for these stupid benefits. I despise being disabled, I used to run and hike, I used to work send for overtime, I used to bake cakes for everyone. I hate having to admit to these people I can’t use a knife incase I have a seizure or black out, and I can’t even stand for long in the kitchen anyway. I hate it, and they make you feel like crap for admitting things you don’t want to tell your best friend, let alone someone who is cruel and mocking.

        I have a tribunal at some point. Not sure how much of this I can take

        • Dear Phillippa,
          I’ve been through two ‘assessments’ and am in WRAG. After a near-full 35yr work history, I became ill with an auto-immune disorder plus other issues that are still under investigation. Having a good work-ethic is one thing, but being a slave to it is another. And yet some say “it’s alright for you”. I cannot type here what my reply has been – not hysterical, but measured and, err, to the point… Please give yourself “permission” to be ill. You are and there’s no need to apologise to anyone for it (even yourself). I hope you get your tribunal through soon. There is a space in the world that is “you” shaped. Fill it. Physically, I’m half the man I was only 18months ago, but I’ve decided to enjoy what I can. Good Luck.

  13. I doubt the Tories will act upon this. This is the party that is about to scrap the Human Rights Act. None of that lot have a conscience.

  14. If,as Reuters says, the Government has said that it intends to take no action on any of the points in the report, where do we go from here? Feels like we’re still banging our heads against a brick wall.

  15. Of course, the Tory government has and will deny this obvious and proven truth. This is systematic bullying, depravation of human rights, constant cutting of benefit to the disabled and MURDER. They will of course keep denying their crimes and the media will be complicit in this as well. Time to take them to the Haig, every single one of them.

  16. Nothing will come of this inquiry. The Government is still in the process of victimising the sick and disabled by cutting £30 per week from the ESA Wrag group. We are also still forced into unfair and unethical WCA assessments. I was forced to go to tribunal for my daily care PIP because an assessor gave a misleading assessment to the DWP. I went 5 months without daily care PIP and my health suffered as a result. This Government is barbaric and, in all honestly, what can the UN actually do to protect the sick and disabled!?

  17. “Grave and systematic violations” sums the last years up in just four words but they do not begin to cover the fact that what was done was a deliberate, continued and conscious policy which began with our demonisation through adverse press briefings followed by the steady withdrawal of funding and legislation designed to restrict or halt the prospect of successful appeals. The latest decision, to employ additional staff to attend tribunals – where these are still feasible, and push judgments away from us is a further cynical device to erode our rights and access to the support that is needed. That suicides and the number of prescriptions for anti-depressants are at an all time high is glibly dismissed as having “no causal link” to government policies when all of us know the truth.
    I read the government response with ever increasing horror. They stand with bloodied hands across the many bodies and continue to deny not only any responsibility but that anything untoward has taken place. How the government will approach the requirement for them to publicise this damning UN Report I do not know but I give my heartfelt thanks to DPAC and all of the other organisations and people who have worked so long and so hard to ensure that the world knows both what has been done to us and what continues to be done. Thank you.

  18. They’ll brush it off….
    Another reason they wanted to leave Europe. So that they can stamp on your Human Rights a little bit easier. So, that’s the disabled covered. This Government is actually causing Mental Health conditions such as depression and anxiety in people that haven’t suffered with it before. Culminating in the ultimate. I attempted suicide because I couldn’t take the stress of coming off ESA onto Jobseekers and onto a work programme, before being sanctioned for an interview I was told was OK not to go to…
    My mental health was NOT taken into consideration…

    • Same here my Mental health was not taken into consideration either , it seems the government just do not care and they see us as ants. I have anxiety and depression and autism as well as problems with my legs. We need to keep fighting the more of us fight the Government and the DWP , the more we try to change things. I have felt like just giving up but I know that is what they want.

  19. Apart from a select few newspapers this momentous news has been ignored by most and even on those that have published it, it is rapidly moving down the priority list.
    This should be the biggest home news story for years and yet almost nothing in the Pres. I have pleaded with people to SHARE a post on the matter on my Facebook account this morning and so far, no response. I feel frightened for our severely disabled child and utterly sick this morning.

  20. And not before time have these violations been acknowledged and itemised. Has it occurred to anyone that Government now sees leaving the EU as a means of avoiding being found wanting it these and many other areas. Without a level of EU control, the UK will become a dictatorship.

  21. This is the just one of the reasons the Tories want to get rid of the Human Rights Act and the UNCHR … no doubt they’ll ridicule this report and get their pals to spout headlines about the UK being ‘told what to do’ by ‘foreigners’, and that the UN are ‘supporting’ lazy, benefit scroungers’, … ad infinitum! >:(

  22. Mixed emotions, I’m elated that the world has begun to see it, hopefully things will improve and fast! I’m saddened that it ever came to this. To have a government that’s hell bent on killing you because you are unfortunate enough to be ill or just have hit rock bottom is barbaric. It’s always the vulnerable that suffer first and that’s not what we should be about.

  23. So what now????

    These evil, evil Tory bustards have murdered thousands through thier final solution policy towards the poor, the sick and the vulnerable!

    I demand, DEMAND, under Articles 2 & 4 of the Convention for the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide is leveled at EVERY SINGLE PERSON responsible for this genocidal policy, from Cameron, Osbourne, Ian Duncan Smith, Esther the witch McVey, Lord Freud, Job Centre managers and staff etc etc etc!

    I DEMAND IT!!!!!!M

    • Exactly Simon, we have all been punished now it’s time they are all punished but who has got the guts to do it, we all DEMAND it happens sooner rather than later also replace what has been taken from disabled folk especially who had an indefinite award

  24. What’s going to happen now? Is the government accountable? Can we Sue them for rights abuse?

    • If we can sue them for rights abuses, the government has unlimited amounts of money to fight these cases, with the best lawyers available. I know it is sad, but that is what happens when right wing fascists take the helm.

  25. I just can’t stop crying as the method of my oppression is broken down like this. Punished for being sick. It breaks my heart.

    • I understand what you mean Kia, this is a deeply emotional moment for many of us. This is vindication of all we have been through and it is a watershed moment in the fight back and in getting our rights back.

      • I noted all the deaths caused by these policies is not mentioned. In 2010 in 9 months over 10,000 people died within getting benefits stopped by atos.
        The number has grown every year. The government tried to decrease the true number of deaths after this by only taking account of those who died after 6 weeks.
        This does not include those who died awaiting tribunal.
        This government are now stopping tribunals by attempting to make them phone based. With a clerk deciding not a legally quailed dr or lawyer.

  26. Always knew that they violated our human rights..now it’s time for the Tories to face facts and stop making excuses.

  27. This is damning to the very core of this Tory Government, IDS’s regime was nothing more than abuse and torture of the weakest and most vulnerable in society this is as shameful as any Government can act.
    Ken Loach is right it is Conscious Cruelty at it’s very worst.

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