A new website will collect evidence on how disabled people’s human rights are being breached, as part of efforts to monitor the UK’s implementation of the new UN disability convention.
Disability Rights Watch UK aims to bring disabled people and their organisations together to build up a picture of disabled people’s lives.
The information will be used to compile a report to the UN’s disability committee, outlining where the UK is failing in its implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, but also showing any good practice.
The report will be submitted to the UN next year, alongside others to be written by the government’s Office for Disability Issues and the Equality and Human Rights Commission.
Experiences submitted to the website could include harassment; barriers to justice, independent living or employment; and abuse, degrading treatment or even loss of life.
The UK Disabled People’s Council (UKDPC) project is funded by Disability LIB, which focuses on building the capacity of disabled people’s organisations.
Jaspal Dhani, UKDPC’s chief executive, said that monitoring its implementation was “the cornerstone of the convention”.
He said: “What we are looking to do is to see how close we are in the UK to realising the everyday rights of disabled people.
“We want to highlight areas where there are blatant failures or unexpected failures.
“It is also important for us to hear about good practice so that we can share that, but we know that the reality of everyday life is that disabled people experience far more breaches of rights than positive experiences.”
He said the findings would also be useful in showing the government the impact its policies – including those announced in the spending review – were having on disabled people.
He pointed to policies such as closing the Independent Living Fund to new members and capping housing benefit, and the impact they would have on convention rights such as Article 19, which deals with living independently and being included in the community.
He said he also expected to hear a lot of evidence around disability hate crime.
Dhani also called on the government to provide long-term funding that would allow UKPDC to monitor the convention effectively once Disability LIB’s short-term funding had expired.
Richard Hawkes, chief executive of the disability charity Scope, which is supporting the project, said: “We know that human rights are best promoted and protected through being used.
“This new project provides a direct way for disabled people to tell government what life is really like in the UK and ensure it lives up to its obligations in the convention.”
To take part in the project, visit: www.disabilityrightswatchuk.org
16 December 2010