What is the UN CRPD?
The United Nation Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN CRPD) is an international human rights treaty intended to protect the rights and dignity of all persons with disabilities.
The UN CRPD is underlined by eight guiding principles:
- Respect for inherent dignity, individual autonomy, including the freedom to make one’s own choices, and independence of persons with disabilities
- Fully and effective participation and inclusion in society
- Respect for difference and acceptance of persons with disabilities as part of human diversity and humanity
- Equality of opportunity
- Equality between men and women
- Respect for the evolving capacity of children with disabilities and respect for the right of children with disabilities to preserve their identities
The Equalities & Human Rights Committee has produced a guide allowing people with learning disabilities to understand what their rights are under the Convention, and how to use them.
Why is Hft interested in this?
In 2012, the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities received information regarding the impact of UK Government policy on persons with disabilities, particularly focused on the implementation of welfare reform and cuts to social security benefits. In April 2013 the Committee received a formal request to investigate the matter and established an inquiry in April 2014.
In November 2016, the Committee published its report on the UK Government, raising concerns that a year-long shake-up of the British welfare system has led to “grave or systematic violations of the rights” of disabled people.
Responding to the report, the Government maintained that its policies fulfilled obligations under the convention, refuted a number of sections in the report and stood by the welfare reform policies, citing evidence of the importance of work as a mental and physical health outcome.
Hft believes that the people we support deserve to live the best life possible and that government policy is hindering the sector’s ability to consistently provide high-quality person-centred support. Hft is keen to ensure that the voice of those with learning disabilities is heard in this important investigation, and so we have decided to participate in this debate.
What is Hft doing?
- In October 2016, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities launched a study in to the global state of provision of services to people with disabilities. Part of the remit of this study included funding for services. Hft responded to this Call for Information by forwarding the Rapporteur information and data that we had gathered as part of our It Doesn’t Add Up campaign.
- And in February 2017, Hft submitted a shadow report as part of the CRPD Committee’s period review of the United Kingdom.
- In July 2017, Hft submitted a response to the UK government’s reply to the UNCRPD committee’s list of issues.
Going forward, Hft will track the progress of the investigation, speaking out when necessary.