CAMPAIGNERS are urging the United Nations to condemn the UK Government’s “unacceptable” dismissal of criticism over the impact of its welfare policies on disabled people.
The Sunday Herald revealed in 2015 that the UN had launched an investigation into allegations that Westminster welfare reforms have led to “grave or systematic violations” of disabled people’s human rights – with the UK the first country to be investigated in this way.
Its report, published last week, found austerity policies had led to “systematic violations” of the rights of people with disabilities, with changes to benefits disproportionately affecting this group.
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It made 11 recommendations, including urging the UK to assess the cumulative impact of spending cuts and introducing measures to fight “negative and discriminatory stereotypes”.
But in response, UK Work and Pensions Secretary Damian Green said it demonstrated an “outdated view of disability which is patronising and offensive.”
He said: “The UN measures success as the amount of money poured into the system, rather than the work and health outcomes for disabled people,
“The UK is a recognised world leader in disabled rights and equality.”
Now campaigners are writing to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon asking him to “censure” the UK Government for its “unacceptable behaviour” in trying to discredit the report.
The letter, which will be submitted early this week, has been backed by more than 50 signatories including Paul Laverty, scriptwriter of “I, Daniel Blake”, several SNP MPs and disability and poverty campaigners.
John McArdle, co-founder of the Scottish disability rights group Black Triangle, said the report stood to be “totally disregarded” by the UK Government.
He said: “The Government have rejected all of their recommendations out of hand.
“But it is now on the international record that the UK is the first country in the world to be found to have met the standard for committing grave or systemic violations of the fundamental rights of disabled people.”