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Inga Lockington reports from conference

September 19, 2017 7:08 PM

The following motion has been passed:-

Conference notes that in August 2017 the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN CRPD) Committee found that the UK Government's cuts to social security and other support for deaf and disabled people had caused "a human catastrophe" which was "totally neglecting the vulnerable situation that people with disabilities nd themselves in" and, taken with the UK Government's refusal to either recognise or implement the recommendations of the previous inquiry by the UN CRPD Committee in 2016, concluded that the Conservative Government had committed "grave, systematic violations of the rights of person with disabilities".

Conference further notes:

i) The House of Lords Select Committee on the Equality Act 2010 and Disability report of March 2016 made 55 recommendations for Government and other agencies, and concluded that Government and other agencies still regard deaf and disabled people as an afterthought, resulting in services (including transport, housing, access to the law, access to employment, physical access, training and work) that are not t for purpose and do not give deaf and disabled people true independent living.

ii) The United Kingdom Independent Mechanism (UKIM), covering all four of the UK Equality and Human Rights bodies, gave evidence to the UN in August 2017 that the government "has failed to realise the rights of disabled people, especially in relation to social security reforms, resulting in grave and systematic violations of the right to an adequate standard of living, right to social protection, right to independent living and right to work".

iii) The UK Government has been repeatedly criticised for its treatment of people in secure mental health settings, including particular criticism over the use of violence and illicit use of taser guns on members of the African Caribbean community.

iv) Evidence of the inappropriate and dishonest assessment processes for PIP continuing to show that the system is target-driven and designed to penalise deaf and disabled,
despite Government reassurances that Capita, ATOS and Maximus were running a fair and independent service for the Department of Work and Pensions.

Conference believes:

a) That deaf and disabled people in the UK are entitled to rights, as set out in the UN CRPD, and that the Conservative Government's repeated refusal to act on the recommendations of

b) the UN CRPD committee, the House of Lords Select Committee, the UKIM, and the extensive reports from Deaf and Disabled People's Organisations (DDPOs) is illegal and shameful.
In a social model of disability, considering that people may have a condition or an impairment but are disabled by society, and we must therefore remove the barriers in society that limit deaf and disabled people's opportunities and choices.

Conference resolves that a future Liberal Democrat government will incorporate the UN CRPD into UK law by strengthening the Equality Act in order to empower deaf and disabled people to confidently challenge all forms of discrimination and prejudice, and will ensure deaf and disabled people a strong voice at the heart of government, inviting them to sit on the cross-government committee 'nothing about you, without you'.

Conference calls for:

1.Liberal Democrats across the UK to fight for the rights of deaf and disabled people in every sphere of their lives, and hold Governments and agencies to account.
2. The UK Government urgently to review its policies, to take immediate steps to remedy those highlighted by the UN and the Lords Select Committee report as failing, and to report back within 12 months.

Inga Lockington at conference