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2010 National LGBT Conference
4 October 2010

Conference applauds the National LGBT Committee’s work on human rights which has greatly improved the understanding of human rights based approaches to the delivery of public services within the mainstream union membership as well as amongst LGBT members.

Conference welcomes the previous government’s signing of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Disabled Persons (UNCRDP) which sets out disabled people’s basic rights in one place, covering health, education, employment, access to justice, personal security, independent living and access to information.

The Convention describes the steps which governments must take to ensure disabled people enjoy their human rights to:

1. Equality before the law without discrimination;

2. Make their own decisions;

3. Have their family life respected;

4. Freedom from exploitation, violence and abuse;

5. An inclusive education;

6. A decent standard of living;

7. Support to participate in society and live in the community;

8. Accessible physical environments and information.

The UK has until next July to report back to the United Nations on its progress in making these rights real.

Conference notes that the Convention is based on the ‘social model’ of disability which recognises that disabled people are excluded by barriers created by society, and so are disabled by inaccessible services, barriers in the built environment or prejudice and stigma. It also recognises that these barriers change over time for the individual.

Conference welcomes the fact that the Convention requires that ‘civil society’ and disabled people and their organisations, in particular, must be closely involved in monitoring how well it is being put into practice. ‘Civil society’ includes:

A.Those people directly affected by human rights violations;

B.Voluntary organisations such as faith groups, youth groups, older people’s groups, women’s groups and groups for lesbian, gay and bisexual and trans people;

C.Parents of disabled children and families of disabled people;

D.Human rights organisations;

E.Trade unions, and

F.Professional groups.

The Convention specifically protects disabled women and disabled children and talks about how governments must recognise the wide diversity of disabled people.

Equality and Human Rights Commission guidance on the Convention refers to the rights of disabled people to have gay relationships. It gives an example that sometimes disabled people need support to go out and meet people, which should be provided regardless of the beliefs of the support worker (for example, the support worker may have beliefs in no sex before marriage, or that people should not have same-sex relationships).

Conference is concerned that there are already suggestions that the current Government will abandon annual reporting on human rights.

Conference therefore instructs the National LGBT Committee, working with appropriate UNISON structures, to:

I.Raise awareness of the Convention and EHRC guidance;

II.Develop a human rights based approaches toolkit that branches can use in bargaining with local public bodies and employers.