Bill on mental capacity and liberty deprivation ‘will take disability rights backwards | DisabledGo News and Blog


Disabled campaigners say the government must delay a controversial bill they believe would make it easier to restrict the freedom of people in care settings who lack capacity to make their own decisions.

Peers yesterday (Wednesday) began debating the committee stage of the mental capacity (amendment) bill, legislation that will affect an estimated 300,000 people in England and Wales with impairments including dementia, learning difficulties and brain injuries.

The bill would introduce a new system, Liberty Protection Safeguards (LPS), to replace the crisis-ridden Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS), for service-users who need to be deprived of their liberty as part of their care but are considered to lack the mental capacity to consent to those arrangements.

The bill is based on recommendations made by the Law Commission but critics say it is “significantly different” from the commission’s own draft bill and omits most of its most progressive elements.

Inclusion London believes the bill as it stands breaches four articles of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities  (on equal recognition before the law, on liberty and security of the person, on protecting the integrity of the person, and on independent living) and says it is “seriously concerned about the impact this bill will have on the human rights of disabled people”.

It says the bill will “significantly weaken the few existing protections” disabled people currently have and has called for its progress through parliament to be paused to allow people who would be affected by the proposals to respond to the government’s plans.

But it will also be working with other disabled people’s organisations, lawyers and academics to secure amendments to the bill.

 

Source: Bill on mental capacity and liberty deprivation ‘will take disability rights backwards’ | DisabledGo News and Blog

Legal ruling secures new protection for autistic pupils | DisabledGo News and Blog


Thousands of disabled children have won new protection from being unfairly excluded from school after a judge ruled that the government’s equality laws were unlawful.

The upper tribunal ruled last week that a 13-year-old pupil, known as “L” for legal reasons, should not have been excluded from his school because his behaviour was linked to his autism.

Now campaigners are calling on the education secretary to change the law to take account of the appeal victory.

L had originally been excluded from school for one-and-a-half days, when he was 11, because of his aggressive behaviour.

The way that Equality Act regulations have been interpreted has meant that children like L who were defined as having “a tendency to physical abuse” were often not treated as “disabled” and were therefore not protected by the Equality Act.

This lack of protection meant schools did not have to justify how a decision to exclude a disabled child in these circumstances was proportionate or explain how they had made reasonable adjustments to support the pupil so the behaviour could be prevented or reduced.

But Judge Rowley, sitting in the upper tribunal, has now found that this rule comes “nowhere near striking a fair balance between the rights of children such as L on the one side and the interests of the community on the other” and was a breach of the Human Rights Act.

He said that “aggressive behaviour is not a choice for children with autism” and that the education secretary had “failed to justify maintaining in force a provision which excludes from the ambit of the protection of the Equality Act children whose behaviour in school is a manifestation of the very condition which calls for special education provision to be made for them”.

He added: “In that context, to my mind it is repugnant to define as ‘criminal or anti-social’ the effect of the behaviour of children whose condition (through no fault of their own) manifests itself in particular ways so as to justify treating them differently from children whose condition has other manifestations.”

He said he believed that his decision was “in harmony with” both the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Statistics show that almost half of all school exclusions involve children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), who are almost seven times more likely to be permanently excluded than other pupils.

L’s parents said in a statement: “We have always believed passionately that our son and other children in his position should have equal rights to be able to go to school and receive the support they need to achieve the best possible outcomes.

“School should be somewhere he can go without fear of discrimination or exclusion for actions which he has no control over.

 

Source: Legal ruling secures new protection for autistic pupils | DisabledGo News and Blog

UN’s ‘human catastrophe’ rights expert to deliver high-profile UK lecture | DisabledGo News and Blog


The UN expert who told the government that its cuts to disabled people’s support had caused a “human catastrophe” is to visit the UK this autumn to deliver a high-profile lecture on disability rights.

Theresia Degener, the professor of law and disability studies who chairs the UN committee on the rights of persons with disabilities, will deliver the first Caroline Gooding Memorial Lecture at the University of Leeds in October.

Last August, Degener told the UK government’s delegation – during a public examination of its progress on implementing the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) – that its cuts to social security and other support for disabled people had caused “a human catastrophe” which was “totally neglecting the vulnerable situation people with disabilities find themselves in”.

She later gave an interview with the BBC – which was not broadcast – in which she warned that the portrayal of disabled people by the UK government and media as “parasites” who live on benefits could put them at risk of violence, and even “killings and euthanasia”.

The annual lecture was set up as a memorial to the equality consultant and author Caroline Gooding, who played a leading role in securing improvements to disability rights legislation as a member of the Disability Rights Taskforce.

Gooding was later director of legislative change at the Disability Rights Commission throughout its eight years. She died in July 2014.

 

Source: UN’s ‘human catastrophe’ rights expert to deliver high-profile UK lecture | DisabledGo News and Blog

Watchdog’s barrister calls for legal right to independent living | DisabledGo News and Blog


Legal advice commissioned by the equality and human rights watchdog has called for disabled people to have a legal right to independent living.

The barrister was asked by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) last year to examine if there needed to be a right to independent living in law for disabled people, because of concerns that their right to choice and control over their lives was being “eroded”.

The lawyer has now concluded that there does need to be a legal right to independent living, although there are several options for how that could be achieved.

Now EHRC is consulting on which of those options it should recommend, and it is likely to publish its conclusions by the end of the year.

An EHRC spokesman told Disability News Service that the barrister’s advice contains “quite a few options” on “how such a right could work in practice”.

He said: “We are going to speak to a range of people involved and see if we can narrow down those options and will then come forward with a set of proposals.”

Although he said EHRC could not yet say that it agreed that there needed to be a legal right to independent living, he said its proposals would “take into account” the barrister’s advice.

Last autumn, the UN’s committee on the rights of persons with disabilities (CRPD) called on the UK government to recognise disabled people’s legal right to independent living, one of the key demands disabled people and their organisations in the UK had made in their submissions to the committee .

has called for disabled people to have a legal right to independent living.

The barrister was asked by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) last year to examine if there needed to be a right to independent living in law for disabled people, because of concerns that their right to choice and control over their lives was being “eroded”.

The lawyer has now concluded that there does need to be a legal right to independent living, although there are several options for how that could be achieved.

Now EHRC is consulting on which of those options it should recommend, and it is likely to publish its conclusions by the end of the year.

An EHRC spokesman told Disability News Service that the barrister’s advice contains “quite a few options” on “how such a right could work in practice”.

He said: “We are going to speak to a range of people involved and see if we can narrow down those options and will then come forward with a set of proposals.”

Although he said EHRC could not yet say that it agreed that there needed to be a legal right to independent living, he said its proposals would “take into account” the barrister’s advice.

Last autumn, the UN’s committee on the rights of persons with disabilities (CRPD) called on the UK government to recognise disabled people’s legal right to independent living, one of the key demands disabled people and their organisations in the UK had made in their submissions to the committee .

 

Source: Watchdog’s barrister calls for legal right to independent living | DisabledGo News and Blog

TUC Disabled Workers’ Conference: UN convention ‘must become part of UK law’ | DisabledGo News and Blog


Disabled trade unionists have called UN’s committee on the rights of persons with disabilities (CRPDthe TUC and unions across the country to campaign for the UN disability convention to be incorporated into UK law.

Disabled members of 22 unions, who were at the annual TUC Disabled Workers’ Conference in Bournemouth, voted unanimously for a motion calling for a national campaign on the issue.

The conference was held just a few months after the UN’s committee on the rights of persons with disabilities (CRPD) told a UK government delegation that its cuts to social security and other support for disabled people had caused “a human catastrophe”.

The UN committee called on the UK last autumn to make more than 80 improvements to the ways its laws and policies affect disabled people’s human rights.

But delegates in Bournemouth heard that the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) was not legally binding in the UK, and so the government was free to continue breaching any of its articles.

David Chrimes, of the FDA union, which represents senior public servants and professionals, who proposed the motion, told the conference about his brother, Richard, whose case was featured by the BBC earlier this year.

Richard Chrimes has to crawl up and down his stairs several times a day – and crawl from his front door to his car – because there is not enough space to adapt his two-storey house to make it accessible for him or even to fit his wheelchair through the front door.

 

Source: TUC Disabled Workers’ Conference: UN convention ‘must become part of UK law’ | DisabledGo News and Blog

SNP hears ‘justice for the dead’ demand as it backs call to implement UN report | DisabledGo News and Blog


The SNP’s annual conference has unanimously called on the UK government to implement the findings of a UN committee of disability rights experts, after a disabled activist demanded “justice for the dead” and “rights for the living”. The motion proposed by disabled party activist Fiona Robertson called on the UK government to stop using “meaningless platitudes” to hide from its responsibility for the “immense human suffering” it has caused disabled people across the UK through its policies. The conference in Glasgow unanimously passed the motion, which criticised the Conservative government for ignoring the findings of the report by the UN’s committee on the rights of persons with disabilities. And it demanded that the government implement all the 80-plus recommendations made by the committee in August, when its report detailed the UK’s progress on implementing the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Later in the conference, SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon used the

Source: SNP hears ‘justice for the dead’ demand as it backs call to implement UN report | DisabledGo News and Blog

Mordaunt misleads MPs… again | DisabledGo News and Blog


The minister for disabled people has again misled MPs, after she claimed that the UK had “volunteered” to take part in a public UN examination which concluded that her government’s disability policies had caused a “human catastrophe”. Penny Mordaunt was responding to Labour’s new shadow minister for disabled people, Marsha de Cordova, who told the Commons this week that the UN committee on the rights of persons with disabilities had “condemned” the government’s progress on disability employment. De Cordova had asked Mordaunt if the government would respond to those concerns. The committee’s “concluding observations” report, in August, examined how the UK had implemented the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD). Among more than 80 recommendations for improvements – a record number for any country being examined by the committee – it was heavily critical of the UK government’s failure to take action to close the disability pay gap and the disability employment

Source: Mordaunt misleads MPs… again | DisabledGo News and Blog

My Speech on the UNCRPD Judgement at the SNP Conference-Fiona Robertson – Black Triangle Campaign


“Conference, delegates, friends. I know I speak for the whole Disabled Members Group, and for disabled people up and down the country, when I say we are deeply grateful for the overwhelming support shown by so many branches, members and elected representatives for this resolution.

When the UK signed up to the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons With Disabilities in 2009, Labour were in government, and although disabled people were already dying from Blair’s reforms, the full weight of these seemingly disparate deaths wasn’t yet understood.

A year later, when the Coalition took office, we know that they had already received a Coroner’s Report on the Prevention of Future Deaths, which would save lives if implemented. Iain Duncan Smith and Chris Grayling decided to ignore it, and the Tory/LibDem Coalition dedicated their time in government to implementing sweeping, devastating cuts to social security, health and social care – a programme which continues to cut further and deeper with every passing year.

In 2012, Disabled People Against Cuts began the formal process of triggering a UN investigation into violations of the CRPD. This was based not just on the lives lost, but on the multitude of ways the Austerity cuts have made life harder for disabled people. We have been pushing for a cumulative impact study for years, because disabled people are rarely affected by just one cut.

It takes a long time to initiate an investigation, as multiple sources of evidence have to be submitted, verified and researched. In 2014, the UK became the first government to ever be investigated by the CRPD, a shameful mark on our history. No UN investigation is undertaken frivolously – t

 

Source: My Speech on the UNCRPD Judgement at the SNP Conference-Fiona Robertson – Black Triangle Campaign

Portraying disabled people as ‘parasites’ could lead to ‘violence and killings’, says UN chair | DisabledGo News and Blog


Disabled people could be at risk of violence, and even “killings and euthanasia”, because of their portrayal by the UK government and media as “parasites” who live on benefits, according to unpublished comments by the chair of a UN committee. Theresia Degener, who chairs the UN committee on the rights of persons with disabilities, warns in the interview that such portrayals of disabled people are “very, very dangerous”. Her comments are even more critical and highly-charged than those she and her committee colleagues made during last month’s two-day public examination in Geneva of the UK’s progress on implementing the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Degener herself had told the UK government’s delegation that its cuts to social security and other support for disabled people had caused “a human catastrophe”, comments that were repeated by Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn in yesterday’s prime minister’s questions (see separate story). But her comments in the interview

Source: Portraying disabled people as ‘parasites’ could lead to ‘violence and killings’, says UN chair | DisabledGo News and Blog

Portraying disabled people as ‘parasites’ could lead to ‘violence and killings’, says UN chair | DisabledGo News and Blog


Disabled people could be at risk of violence, and even “killings and euthanasia”, because of their portrayal by the UK government and media as “parasites” who live on benefits, according to unpublished comments by the chair of a UN committee. Theresia Degener, who chairs the warns in the interview that such portrayals of disabled people are “very, very dangerous”. Her comments are even more critical and highly-charged than those she and her committee colleagues made during last month’s two-day public examination in Geneva of the UK’s progress on implementing the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Degener herself had told the UK government’s delegation that its cuts to social security and other support for disabled people had caused “a human catastrophe”, comments that were repeated by Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn in yesterday’s prime minister’s questions. But her comments in the interview with a BBC journalist

Source: Portraying disabled people as ‘parasites’ could lead to ‘violence and killings’, says UN chair | DisabledGo News and Blog