We would like to announce the launch of our website – http://www.dpac.uk.net

We started this blog under Disabled People Protest for the 3rd Oct 2010 protest in October. We are now moving to a website – its not too different from the weblog – we hope you will subscribe and continue to get information. This blog is linked at the new website as are the pages such as Virtual Protest Page and Buddies for Rallies.

Join us at the 26th March rally

protest poster

Transport to the March can be found here.

We will keep you posted on access for disabled people when we have the information.

protest poster

Transport to the March can be found here.

We will keep you posted on access for disabled people when we have the information.

Transcript with many heartfelt thanks to Liz for agreeing to speak for disabled people at the People’s Convention.

Thank you… I can only dream of being on the platform. One day… One day we’ll make it.

Disabled people make up 20 % of the population. That’s a conservative estimate. We are hidden impairments, we are visible, we are old, we are gay, we are lesbian, we are black, we are white, we are all sorts of people, that’s who we are.

But what we are not is… We are not victims. We are not scroungers or frauds. We are not vulnerable or work shy. We are not charity cases or burdens or ‘unsustainables’ or useless eaters.

We are fighters, survivors, leaders, comrades, brothers & sisters in arms, campaigners, citizens and equals.

This, like for many of us, is not a new struggle. Our history is littered with disabled people being scapegoated, demonaised, discriminated against and oppressed. It is also a history of disabled people fighting back against this.

From the League of the Blind who unionized in the 19th Century to fight for their rights, to the war veterans who marched on Whitehall for the jobs and respect they were due, to disabled people fighting to escape residential care in the ‘60’s and ‘70’s forming the Union of Physically Impaired Against Segregation, to those of us in the ‘80’s and ‘90’s who chained ourselves to buses to secure equality in public transport and in law… We have been here before.

However, we are faced with a horrific onslaught of attacks from all directions. The cuts that we’re all talking about today, we encounter those cuts too – whether it’s the increase in VAT, privatization of our basic services, of the NHS, of cuts effecting the public sector – we experience them too as disabled people but on top of that we’re having our benefits whipped from us, we’re being assessed by bastards at ATOS, people in care homes are having the mobility component of their DLA (Disability Living Allowance) removed, we’re being charged for the basic right to have a wee, our Independent Living Fund money that allows us to be independent within the community is being removed in 4 years time, Incapacity Benefit is being scrapped and replaced by the unforgiving ESA (Employment Support Allowance), on top of that there is hate crime, limits to housing benefit, Access to Work, to transport and if we want to challenge it, to Legal Aid too. That’s fucked as well.

Disabled people are living in fear. We are living in poverty. We are going to be living in the Dark Ages where they decide between the deserving and the undeserving poor.

But, we will not let this happen. Because through our history, what we have learnt is that the media, the policy makers and the Government will try to separate us into our different groups. They will try to weaken us. They will try and make us compete against each other for whatever crumbs are on offer, fighting amongst ourselves, individualizing this struggle, dividing us so that they may conquer and change the balance of society in favour of financial capital rather than social capital and equality. That’s what happening. We cannot afford to let this happen.

We are fighting for our lives, for our freedom, for our existence. That’s how important it is to disabled people and for everybody here today. It is about our basic liberty, our basic right to life. We will not be hidden away. We will not be hidden away behind close doors, out of sight out of mind, in our homes or institutions. We will not settle for charity rather than rights. We will not be forgotten. We will not be silenced.

We must mobilise and in doing so not forget those who cannot take to the streets in protest but who can through virtual protesting.

We must politicise. We must educate ourselves and others in what’s happening in our own and wider campaigns.

We have to radicalise. This is about revolution not reformation anymore.

We must unite. As disabled people, as disabled people and allies, as everyone – we must unite.

Together we are stronger.

Thank you.

Something to celebrate for a change: our fellow campaigners from the Birmingham demo on 3rd October, Cardiff People First, are having a showcase week in a shop in the Capitol Centre, Cardiff on the corner of Queen Street by Newport Road, opposite Sainsbury’s.

Cardiff People First banner

Monday 21st Feb till Friday 25th Feb 10am till 3pm

Cardiff People First is run by people with a learning disability. We stand up for our rights and campaign to change attitudes, get better services and enjoy more opportunities.

For more information contact
Cardiff People First
Canton House
435 Cowbridge Road East
Cardiff
CF5 1JH
cardiffpeople1st@btconnect.com
029 2023 1555
www.cardiffpeoplefirst.org.uk

They are also at Facebook

This is the video of the Workshop at the People’s Convention on Saturday 12th February at the Friend’s House in London.

With many, many thanks to Jon Cheetham of Bellerose Films.

Crippen : The big society?!

February 16, 2011

 

Man in bed reading bookDescription: David Cameron is sitting up in bed, partially lit by a candle on a bedside cabinet. He is wearing blue striped pyjamas and his bedding is also blue. In his hands is a copy of the book ‘Brave new world’ by Aldous Huxley. He is thinking: “That’s the answer – we just clone more Tories!”

Visit Crippen’s latest blog where he attempts to penetrate the fog surrounding Cameron’s big society … you can also leave a comment

http://crippencartoons.wordpress.com/2011/02/15/the-big-society/

On Saturday, we as disabled people, stated we wanted Rights not Charity at the People’s Convention.

Here there is an instrument where we can exercise our rights – the UN Convention of Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

According to the Joint Committee of Human Rights published 4th January 2009

The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) was agreed in December 2006 and came into force on 3 May 2008. The Convention builds on existing international human rights instruments to “promote, protect and ensure the full enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms by all persons with disabilities”. The UK wasclosely involved in negotiating and agreeing the UNCRPD and was one of its first signatories.

We see clear benefits in UK ratification, particularly because it sends a strong signal that the Government takes equality and the protection of human rights for people with disabilities seriously.

Disabled people celebrated this protection of our human rights. Two years down the line before our first report back to the UN, we have a Call for Evidence on Article 19 – the Right to Independent Living by the Joint Committee.

Please do read the Call for Evidence and respond where you can. This is important because we can show how our rights have been violated and calls attention to it.

(www.parliament.uk/jchr.)

JOINT COMMITTEE ON HUMAN RIGHTS

CALL FOR EVIDENCE

The Joint Committee of Human Rights, chaired by Dr Hywel Francis MP, today announces an inquiry into the implementation of the right to independent living for disabled people, as guaranteed by Article 19, UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

The Committee invites interested persons and groups to submit evidence on this issue and would welcome written submissions by Friday 29th April 2011.  Further information about the Committee’s inquiry is set out below, together with questions the Committee intends to address.  You do not need to answer all of these questions in your written submission.  The Committee particularly welcomes submissions from disabled people and their families about independent living and how Government policies, practices and legislation or the activities of public authorities and others can implement the right to independent living in practice.

This Call for Evidence has also been prepared in an Easy Read version which is available on the Committee’s website: www.parliament.uk/jchr.  Copies can also be obtained by contacting the Committee on 020 7219 2384.

Background

The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (the Disability Rights Convention) builds on existing human rights treaties including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic Social and Cultural Rights.  Its purpose is to:

“Promote, protect and ensure the full enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms by all persons with disabilities, and to promote respect for their inherent dignity.”

The Disability Rights Convention is the newest treaty in the UN human rights framework.  The United Kingdom ratified the Convention on 8 June 2009.   The Convention has at its heart the principles of equality and independent living, which are designed to ensure that disabled people enjoy their rights on an equal basis to others.  The first principle of the Convention provides that there shall be:

“Respect for the inherent dignity, individual autonomy, including the freedom to make one’s own choices, and independence of persons.”

Public authorities have specific duties to promote equality for disabled people in the Equality Act 2010.  These duties broadly reflect the obligations of the Government in the UN Disability Rights Convention..  That Convention recognises that disabled people have a right to access community life without discrimination.  For example, Article 19 provides:

“State Parties to this Convention recognise the equal right of persons with disabilities to live in the community with choices equal to others, and shall take effective and appropriate measures to facilitate full enjoyment by persons with disabilities of this right and their full inclusion and participation in the Community”

The right to independent living

Independent living is described by the Office for Disability Issues as follows:

Independent living is about disabled people having the same level of choice, control and   freedom in       their daily lives as any other person.

Independent living was placed at the heart of the last Government’s policy on disability.  Each of the three main political parties expressed their approval of the Independent Living Strategy published in 2008, which sets out actions aimed at improving the choice and control disabled people have over the services they need to live their daily lives.[1] The aims of the strategy are that:

  • disabled people (including older disabled people) who need support to go about their daily lives will have greater choice and control over how support is provided; and
  • disabled people (including older disabled people) will have greater access to housing, education, employment, leisure and transport opportunities and to participation in family and community life.

In June 2010, the Government explained that it was looking at further ways of taking the Independent Living Strategy forward.[2]

In December 2009, the Scottish Government, the Confederation of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA) and the Independent Living Movement in Scotland signed up to a shared Vision for Independent Living in Scotland.[3] No similar national strategy exists in Northern Ireland or in Wales.

• Should the right to independent living continue to form the basis for Government policy on disability in the UK?

• Do existing policy statements, including the Independent Living Strategy, represent a coherent policy towards the implementation of the obligations in Article 19 of the UN Disability Rights Convention?  Could current policy be improved?  If so, how?

• What steps, if any, should the coalition Government, the Scottish Government or other public agencies take better to meet the obligations in Article 19 and to secure the right to independent living for all disabled people in the UK?

• If you consider changes to policies, practices or legislation in the UK are necessary, please explain.

Impact of funding on the right to independent living

The impact on the right to independent living of restricted funding, including proposals for cuts in the emergency budget and in the Comprehensive Spending Review, is not yet clear.  A number of changes have recently been announced which may impact positively or negatively on the ability of disabled people to “have the same level of choice, control and freedom in their daily lives as any other person”.

The Committee would particularly welcome evidence on these recent developments:

the decision, announced in the CSR, to remove the mobility component of Disability Living Allowance for all people living in residential care;

changes to the Independent Living Fund;

“the Big Society”;

restrictions on local authority funding, social care budgets and benefits reassessments;

increased focus on localisation and its potential impact on care provision, and specifically, on portability of care and mobility for disabled people.

• What impact does funding have on the ability of the UK to secure the right to independent living protected by Article 19 of the UN Disability Rights Convention?

• How will recent policy and budgetary decisions impact on the ability of the UK to meet its obligation under Article 19 to protect the right of all persons to independent living?

Participation and consultation

The Disability Rights Convention is based on inclusion of disabled people in policy development and decision making.  Article 4(3) of the Convention specifically provides that State Parties shall “closely consult with and actively involve persons with disabilities…through their representative organisations” in any decisions concerning issues relating to persons with disabilities.

•What steps should the Government take to meet its obligations under the Disability Rights Convention to involve disabled people in policy development and decision-making, including in budget decisions such as the Comprehensive Spending Review?

•Are the current arrangements for involvement of disabled people in policy development and decision-making working?

Monitoring the effective implementation of the Convention

The UK is required to submit its first periodic report on the implementation of the Convention to the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in summer 2011.  This report is being coordinated by the national focal point in Government required under the Convention, in the UK, the Office for Disability Issues.  The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) -together with the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission (NIHRC) and the Scottish Human Rights Commission (SHRC) – has a responsibility under the Convention as part of the national implementation mechanism to promote the effective implementation of the Disability Rights Convention (Article 31).

• What steps should Government take to ensure that disabled people’s views are taken into account when drafting their reports to the UN under the UNCRPD?

• As part of the national monitoring mechanism, what steps should the EHRC, NIHRC and SHRC take to ensure that the Convention is implemented effectively?

You need not address all these questions. Short submissions are preferred. A submission longer than six pages should include a one-page summary.

A copy of the submission should be sent by e-mail to jchr@parliament.uk and marked “UK extradition policy”. An additional paper copy should be sent to: Greta Piacquadio, Joint Committee on Human Rights, 7 Millbank, London SW1A 0AA.

It would be helpful, for Data Protection purposes, if individuals submitting written evidence send their contact details separately in a covering letter. You should be aware that there may be circumstances in which the Joint Committee on Human Rights will be required to communicate information to third parties on request, in order to comply with its obligations under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

A guide for written submissions to Select Committees may be found on the parliamentary website at: http://www.parliament.uk/commons/selcom/witguide.htm

Please also note that:

  • Material already published elsewhere should not form the basis of a submission, but may be referred to within a proposed memorandum, in which case a hard copy of the published work should be included.
  • Evidence becomes the property of the Committee, and may be printed, placed on the Internet or circulated by the Committee at any stage. You may publicise or publish your evidence yourself, but in doing so you must indicate that it was prepared for the Committee. Evidence published other than under the authority of the Committee does not attract parliamentary privilege. If your evidence is not printed, it will in due course be made available to the public in the Parliamentary Archives.
  • All communications to the Committee about the inquiry should be addressed through the clerk or the Chairman of the Committee, whether or not they are intended to constitute formal evidence to the Committee.
  • The members of the Committee Are:

    Dr Hywel Francis MP (Labour, Aberavon) (Chair)

    Lord Bowness (Conservative)

    Dr Julian Huppert MP (Liberal Democrat .Cambridge

    Baroness Campbell of Surbiton (Cross-Bencher)

    Mrs Eleanor Laing MP (Conservative, Epping Forest)

    Lord Dubs (Labour)

    Mr Dominic Raab MP (Conservative, Esher and Walton)

    Lord Lester of Herne Hill (Liberal Democrat)

    Mr Virendra Sharma MP (Labour, Ealing Southall)

    Baroness Morris of Bolton (Conservative)

    Mr Richard Shepherd MP (Conservative, Aldridge-Brownhills)

    Lord Morris of Handsworth (Labour)