Making Disabled Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender People’s Rights Real

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2011 National LGBT Conference
23 September 2011

Conference notes with concern that disabled LGBT people are being disenfranchised at the hands of the Tory-led Government and our human rights and independence are seriously under threat.

Disabled LGBT people are facing cuts to benefits, rises in unemployment, have no protection against dual discrimination, reductions in the provision of social care, being denied the right to independent living, seen further recent cuts in access to work, being vilified as benefit scroungers and it has been suggested that we may wish to choose to work for less than the minimum wage if it would give us a better chance of obtaining stable employment.

Many of the services that we rely on have been withdrawn or reduced and we face uncertainty about our futures with the provisions of the health and social reform bill and the welfare reform bill.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) has launched a new online resource about human rights to help public sector bodies in England and Wales focusing on: adult social care; children’s services; health; housing; education services; local government; criminal justice, courts and prisons; policing and immigration and asylum. This is an essential tool at a time when our human rights are being eroded in all areas of our life and like the Human Rights Act can be utilised in our fight against the cuts and denial of services.

The EHRC together with the Commissions in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have also written to the Minister for Disabled People in response to the consultation on the United Kingdom (UK) Government’s draft initial report to the United Nations (UN) on the progress that has been made to protect and deliver the rights set out in the UN Convention on the Rights of Disabled People (UNCRDP). The letter states areas in which the report could be improved.

For example, the initial report refers to welfare reform being positive for disabled people and to steps to support people into employment such as access to work, without referring to the cuts to access to work, and incorrectly states that disabled people are protected on grounds of dual discrimination.

The UN Disability Committee usually meets twice a year; it is likely that the UK state examination will be in 2013 or 2014. The four UK Commissions intend to produce a ‘parallel report’ for the UN Committee closer to the UK examination date and will involve and consult disabled people and disabled people’s organisations in that process.

Conference calls on the National LGBT Committee to:

1.Continue to campaign for the use of human rights based approaches to delivering public services throughout the UK;

2.Raise awareness of the human rights toolkit produced by the EHRC;

3.Continue to defend the Human Rights Act;

4.Liaise with the Disabled LGBT Members Caucus and National Disabled Members Committee on the UNCRDP, particularly regarding making an input into the Commissions’ parallel report.