The UK Government's Absence at the UN: What It Means for Disabled Peoples Rights

Scene of the UN Chamber with hundreds of delegates some in wheelchairs listening to proceedings

In recent news that might have flown under your radar, the UK government has decided to sit out an important meeting at the United Nations. This isn’t just any meeting; it scrutinises the treatment of disabled people under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD). To put it bluntly, our government says, “No thanks, we’d rather not discuss how we’re doing when it comes to supporting disabled people.”

A Look Back at 2016

You might be wondering, "Why should I care?" If you look back at 2016, the Committee of Disabled Human Rights Experts released a shocking report. It laid bare the systemic discrimination against disabled people in the UK. And let's not forget that these findings resulted from relentless research and advocacy by Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC).

The Real Impact

Now, five years on, a shadow report suggests things have actually gotten worse, not better, for disabled people. Remember, these are not just statistics on paper; they're real lives being affected. Disabled individuals have reported making gut-wrenching decisions between basic needs like eating and breathing because they can't afford to run essential medical equipment.

What's the Big Deal About a Missed Meeting?

So, back to this missed UN meeting. The government's decision to skip it shows a lack of accountability and sends a message that they are not interested in public scrutiny. By refusing to attend, our government is undermining the push for equality and fairness for disabled people.

Kamran Mallick, the CEO of Disability Rights UK, hit the nail on the head when he said, "Time and again, the Government is refusing to engage with Disabled people in a meaningful way." If disabled people can cross Europe to attend this critical meeting despite countless barriers, why can't our government?

Moving Forward

Look, this is more than a missed meeting. It’s a missed opportunity to engage in a dialogue that could lead to real change. Lessons can only be learned through transparent discussions and thorough inquiries.

Let's make sure that we, as the general public, hold our government accountable for their actions or the lack thereof. Because, at the end of the day, a society is judged by how it treats its most vulnerable members.


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