WELCOME TO ALL FELLOW CAMPAIGNERS for DISABILITY RIGHTS - a pan disability blog connecting my work with, EQUAL LIVES, the National Survivor User Network (NSUN) and the Survivor History Group.

Protest, Norwich Job Centre

Protest, Norwich Job Centre
Fatso Gets Militant!

Saturday, 17 March 2012


Well! Miller the Killer beat us in that battle - the Welfare Act is now a reality.

Time to regroup and move on.

The next campaign stage, for me, is the coalition Disability Strategy and there may be several skirmishes ahead. One of  our allies here is the Parliamentary Human Rights Committee which published its report on the rights of disabled people to independent living on St David's Day (1st March 2012) - you can find the report

This report is an important document for us, not in the least because it champions the United Nations Convention on the Right of People with Disabilities (UNCRPD).  But the committee is not confident in the recognition of its importance by service users and carers.  It says: “The evidence we received suggested that awareness of the UNCRPD among disabled people was low. Disability Action suggested that such a lack of awareness resulted in a weakness in the disability rights movement.”

Further underlining its importance the committee is pressing for the recognition by this government of the UNCRPD as ‘hard law.’ In her evidence to the committee Maria Miller, the Minister against Disabled People as we know her, seemingly mistaken, insisted the UNCRPD is seen as ‘soft law’ The report explains: “Soft law” is the term generally used to describe standards which do not have the status of being legally binding on the State in international law, such as declarations, minimum principles and similar internationally agreed documents. Treaties, however, are legally binding on the state in international law. A violation of a treaty obligation is an internationally wrongful act which has serious consequences for the State in international law. Obligations contained in treaties are always “hard law”.

“The UNCRPD is the newest treaty in the UN human rights framework, and was ratified by the UK in 2009. It builds on existing human rights treaties including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic Social and Cultural Rights. Its purpose is to "promote, protect and ensure the full enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms by all persons with disabilities, and to promote respect for their inherent dignity.”

Within this framework the committee promotes ‘independent living’ which in their terms means:
“all disabled people having the same choice, control and freedom as any other citizen—at home, at work, and as members of the community... Independent living is as relevant to people living in residential care as it is to someone living in their own home, and as relevant to people with significant cognitive impairments as to a university graduate.

The report in its entirety is a migrainously heavy read but worth every pixel. We service users and carers should support the work of the Human Rights Committee’s work and, in our future campaigning use the Parliamentary status of the report to shore up our arguments. It is a universal truth that we are going to be involved in many struggles against individual service user hardship. Record those instances and compile a dossier as evidence towards positive outcomes and be absolutely sure to keep your eyes peeled and respond to the Disability Strategy consultation when it is launched.


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The Tough Tenor (when I could walk)!

In a Mellotone

In a Mellotone
Ah sweet Youffff