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The UN Committee inquiry

At the end of August 2015, it was revealed in the national press that the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) was to conduct an inquiry into the impact of the UK Government’s policies on the rights of disabled people.

The inquiry was conducted under the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, to which the UK has been a signatory since 2007. The Optional Protocol allows the UN Committee to investigate a State Party if they have received reliable evidence of ‘grave and systematic violations of the Convention’. The UK is the first country to be investigated by the UN in relation to this Convention.

The Committee’s findings

The Committee’s report, published on 6 October 2016, found that Government reforms had led to ‘grave and systematic’ violations of the rights of disabled people. The report emphasises the impact of changes to Housing Benefit entitlement, eligibility criteria for Personal Independence Payment (PIP) and social care, and the closure of the Independent Living Fund.

The Government’s response

The Government published a robust response alongside the publication of the Committee’s report, stating that it “strongly disagrees” with the findings.

What next?

Like other UN human rights conventions, the CRPD does not contain any mechanism that allows the Committee to enforce its recommendations. As the Government’s response to the report rejected all the recommendations made, there are no more official steps in the process.


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