DPAC postponed protest after EHRC’s meeting pledge

February 7, 2011

DPAC had told Disability News Service that they planned to occupy the EHRC’s London offices sometime in March, although they said they would not be announcing which day the protest would take place.

They believe the EHRC should be challenging councils that are failing to provide adequate support for disabled people, and backing more legal actions on behalf of disabled people.

They have also pointed to the commission’s failure to speak out on cuts and reforms to disability living allowance (DLA) – and particularly the loss of the mobility component for most people in residential care – as well as problems with the controversial work capability assessment; the closure of the independent living fund to new members; and cuts to housing benefits.

They say all these policies could be challenged as breaches of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, particularly as the commission is monitoring its implementation.

Members were particularly angry at the commission’s failure to fulfil a pledge to contact DPAC to discuss its plans to support disabled people.

Linda Burnip, a founding member of DPAC, said: “Following a threat to occupy their offices, they suddenly got in touch with us. We have postponed [the occupation] pending a meeting. They have given me a list of things they are planning to do.”

She said the EHRC had told her that they were “limited in what they can do and how they do it”.

Before the EHRC’s intervention, Burnip had said: “We expect them to be helping uphold disabled people’s human rights and the UN convention and they are not. They basically might as well not exist.”

An EHRC spokeswoman said: “Our disability programmes director has had a positive discussion with Disabled People Against Cuts about their concerns and we’re planning to meet with them to discuss this issue further.”

Watch this space!

First published at Disability Lib

News provided by John Pring at www.disabilitynewsservice.com

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3 Responses to “DPAC postponed protest after EHRC’s meeting pledge”

  1. chris gibson Says:

    What is EHRC?


  2. I am most interested to read about the proposed occupation of the offices of the EHRC.

    I am so glad that, at last, people with disabilities are challenging those organisations that should be there to offer some protection against attacks on human rights.

    I would like to let you know about our own experiences with the EHRC. I first contacted the EHRC at the beginning of October of last year, to ask them to mount an investigation of the human rights abuses currently taking place against people with Autistic Spectrum Disorders and their families and to take the requisite legal action. Only the EHRC has powers to take action on behalf of individuals or to take legal action, and yet we were told to contact the Scottish Human Rights Commission, even though they don’t possess
    these powers and I had stressed that the legislation, regulation and policy which adversely affect the human rights of people with ASD is applicable throughout the UK – whilst the laws and legal systems are different in
    Scotland, the legislation that is problematic is pretty much the same throughout the UK.

    My email correspondence with the EHRC is a series of classic fob-offs. In spite of the appalling abuses taking place against some adults with ASD who are caught up in the mental health system, and the limits placed on myself
    and other parents by time and ill-health, there was not a hint of compassion for our plight. The number of times that I was referred back to the EHRC Helpline was getting quite ridiculous.

    I hope that we may still be able to elicit some help from an organisation that has funding of nearly £60 million per year, but I question why any organisation that purports to support human rights requires those approaching them about human rights abuses to jump through hoops, just to get a rebuff and told to get their lawyer to contact the EHRC.

    Why is it that convicted criminals can get legal aid and support for human rights cases to stop slopping out and to be able to vote, yet there is a distinct paucity of human rights cases on behalf of people with disabilities?

    I would welcome the opportunity to be involved in any meeting or joint approach to the EHRC. Living in Scotland, and being a full-time carer restricts what I can do outside of Scotland, but I’d like to be involved.

    You can read for yourselves what myself and my colleagues in Autism Rights have done by going to our website – currently being re-vamped – and to our submission to the Scottish Government’s Draft Autism Strategy, which has
    weblinks to all of our online documents:-

    http://www.autismrights.org.uk
    http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Publications/2011/01/13144217/48
     – Draft Autism Strategy Consultation response from Autism Rights

    Regards,

                            Fiona Sinclair
                            Autism Rights

    P.S. Did you see this story about Legal Aid?

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/underdogs-solicitor-locked-out-of-legal-aid-2207447.html

    `Equal Rights, Not Endless Fights`

    One parent summed up our feelings about `the system` – “It just seems to me that, over the years, we have spent more and more money employing more and more people to stop our children getting the things they need.”


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