Reports suggest that the United Nations are planning to visit Britain to investigate whether Iain Duncan Smith and the Conservative Government’s dramatic welfare reforms have violated disabled citizens’ human rights.
Disability charity ‘Inclusion Scotland’ claims they have been contacted by the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities as part of an investigation into human rights abuses against disabled people in the UK. They said the UN committee advised them that they’ll be sending a Special Rapporteur to the UK in the “near future”.
Speaking to The Sunday Herald, Director of Policy Bill Scott said:
The UN have notified us they will be visiting Britain to investigate and want to meet with us when they come, sometime in the next few months.
As the UN conducts these kinds of investigations “confidentially”, they refused to confirm or deny if they are currently investigating the UK.
However, in 2013, the UN’s special investigator on housing urged the government to scrap the bedroom tax, after hearing “shocking” accounts of how it was affecting disabled and vulnerable people.
Under article 22 and 25 of the UN Declaration of Human Rights, all people have “the right to social security” and “the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family”. The UN delegate would investigate whether the government and the DWP were guilty of breaking those terms.
Last week, the Department of Work and Pensions revealed that 2,380 people have died within six weeks of being declared “fit to work” by the government between 2011 and 2014.
The DWP and Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith battled for months against disability charities and campaigners in order to not release the numbers, but the Information Commissioner ruled that the government had no justifiable reason to withhold the figures.
Disability rights campaigners and charities have argued that disabled people have seen their quality of life decline drastically under welfare reforms and government cuts to services.
Iain Duncan Smith was recently accused of launching a “new attack on disabled people” after he announced plans for a DWP shake-up to get more people off benefits and into jobs.
Smith claimed that work is “good for your health” and attacked critics for “scaremongering” over his welfare reforms, insisting that the vulnerable were still protected. Clearly, the United Nations disagrees Iain!
The news also comes amidst reports of Tory plans to scrap the 1998 Human Rights Act and bring in a new British Bill of Rights. Although it’s said to be a legislative move more than anything else, it looks especially bad in light of this potential investigation.