7 November 2016
What: The UN’s committee on the rights of persons with disabilities publishes a report into allegations that the UK government – particularly DWP – has violated disabled people’s rights under the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. It concludes that the government’s social security reforms have “disproportionately affected persons with disabilities and hindered various aspects of their right to live independently and be included in the community”. It says that evidence it has collected “points to significant hardship, including financial, material and psychological”, experienced by disabled people undergoing benefits assessments. There are eleven recommendations, including that the UK government should carry out a cumulative impact assessment to ascertain how badly disabled people have been affected by cuts and changes since 2010, and that they should carry out positive mass media campaigns to promote the rights of benefit claimants.
Why significant: This was the first such high-level inquiry to be carried out by the committee, and its findings were internationally embarrassing for the UK government, particularly DWP and its ministers. The findings vindicated the efforts of disabled activists, led by DPAC’s co-founder Debbie Jolly, who had called on the UN to investigate.