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2014 National Disabled Members' Conference
11 June 2014
Carried as Amended

Conference notes that according to the 2011 World Report on Disability published by the World Health Organisation and World Bank there are an estimated one billion disabled people globally. Disabled people face barriers to participation in society, such as in accessing development programmes and funds, education, employment, health care, communication and transport. Disabled people and their families, of whom 80 per cent live in developing countries, are over represented among those living in absolute poverty. Furthermore, disabled people are particularly at risk to the effects of climate change, such as natural disasters and food insecurity and in situations of conflict. If a disabled person is lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) then they may face human rights abuses and in some cases imprisonment or even death.

The exclusion and invisibility of disabled people in the millennium development goals (MDGs) is indicative of how the present framework fails. Disabled people face discrimination on multiple levels particularly if they identify with other marginalised groups such as being Black or LGBT, yet remain absent in the implementation, monitoring and evaluation of the MDG. There is little reference to disabled people who may face multiple oppression because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Although there has been some progress in terms of commitment to the inclusion of disabled people within the United Nations system, this needs to be translated in broader and deeper commitments in the post 2015 framework.

Conference further notes that the Department for International Development (DfID) has failed to take disability seriously and believes that an overarching strategy is needed which acknowledges that disability is a development issue. The strategy should also reflect the fact that disabled people may have multiple identities and therefore face prejudice and discrimination on more than one ground. In October 2013, Lynne Featherstone, the parliamentary under secretary of state for international development, acknowledged that the world had for too long has been guilty of neglecting the challenges, discrimination and prejudice that disabled people face and have been too often left behind when it comes to development. She also stated that as a consequence, disabled people are disproportionately some of the poorest and most marginalised in the world. If a disabled person is also LGBT then they may experience increased marginalisation and poverty.

Conference therefore instructs the National Disabled Members Committee:

1)To liaise with appropriate sections such as the International Section within UNISON to develop its International work including in respect of disabled LGBT people globally;

2)Encourage disabled members to become involved in the union’s international work and take up positions of branch international officer;

3)To make links with the Labour Campaign for International Development (LCID) to start a dialogue in respect of the global agenda on disability; and

4)To publicise UNISON’ international work and campaigns