Black Triangle is primarily a human rights campaign.
As people who experience life with the full range of impairments, whether physical or mental, we demand that our right to live with dignity be respected in full.
We insist upon the Social Model of Disability in public discourse on policy. This means that we see the economic and social structures of the society in which we live as presenting people with impairments with barriers that disable them from enjoying full inclusion in society.
We are a grassroots campaign. We are made up of disabled people themselves, their families and allies. We demand to be fully heard by decision makers at all levels.
Nothing About Us Without Us!
We are fully democratic. We do not have any permanent office-holders. We meet regularly and volunteer to undertake specific tasks for the campaign. We then return to our place as a member in a grouping of equals. We operate a horizontal structure. Not a hierarchical one.
We do not belong to any political organisations. We welcome all who share our aims as set out in the UN Enable Convention.
We provide an environment where members and supporters can pursue their political pursuits according to their free conscience in order to further the aims of disability liberation. There is no requirement for different members to approve the actions of others.
It is possible for the individual to act autonomously in these regards and our philosophy is one of providing solidarity and empowerment for individuals to take a full part in public and political life .
We aim to give all people with disabilities a forum in which to express themselves freely and for their voice to be heard with its full integrity intact.
We aim to provide accessible means to take part in protest.
We engage in direct action to highlight our plight and the violation of our human rights.
Our direct action is at all times peaceful. We utterly reject the use of violence to put forward our views. We believe in and seek to uphold the rights of all to contend democratically and have their views both listened to and respected.
We engage strenuously in the work of education; of the general population in the field of human rights through such activities as Disability History Month, and to the youth of our country, through events such as Holocaust Memorial Day, where we call to mind the events and socio-economic conditions that led to the systematic murder of over 350,000 people with disabilities.
Black Triangle’s motto is:
“Disabled People Fighting for Our Future: Custodians of Our Past.”
THE PRESENT HUMAN RIGHTS SITUATION IN THE UNITED KINGDOM TODAY
The disabled people of the United Kingdom are at present experiencing a full-scale pogrom at the hands of the United Kingdom’s Conservative-Liberal Democrat Coalition Government. A government that nobody voted for and which was formed after an election in which the Conservative Party polled only 23% of the popular vote.
It is our firm view that this government is illegitimate and has no constitutional political MANDATE to push through what amounts to a far-right economic agenda such as was imposed on Chile under Pinochet.
On the back of this unholy alliance, the ConDems are pushing through policies that will see the end of the welfare state, the privatisation through the back door of our cherished National Health Service, and the privatisation of all our public services into for-private-profit organisations.
We see that the problems which we face internationally today have their source in the financial crisis that started in 2007/08 originating in the United States with its fall-out extending to the rest of the world.
Again and again the ConDem régime repeats the lie that they are dealing with the mess that “we inherited” from the previous government.
We agree with the journalist Johann Hari that this is ‘The Biggest Lie in British Politics’
We believe that what we has been unleashed on us is a ‘Shock Doctrine’
We reject utterly the false narrative and prospectus which has been set down before us by this illegitimate regime as much as the lie that was the false prospectus upon which the last government took us to war in Iraq!
Under this extreme form of ‘market fundamentalism’, also known as ‘neoliberalism’, the victims of the crisis of ‘free market’ capitalism – the sick, the unemployed, people with disabilities, foreigners etc. are all seen as fair game as scapegoats by the ruling elite.
The mass media has for the previous few years sought to portray sick and/or disabled people and the unemployed as “workshy” “scroungers” “fraudsters” and the like. They have sought to systematically demonise us through the twisting and misuse of statitics which end up telling nothing but grotesque lies.
Meanwhile, the mega-rich continue to shamelessly refuse to pull their weight! Who are the REAL scroungers in our society?
The effect of this media hate campaign in the media has been devastating to the individuals so labelled, their families, friends and communities. It has led to an unprecedented rise in disability hate crime. See –
We work closely in monitoring the resurgence of hate crime and have ongoing meetings at the highest levels with police forces in Scotland where we are based to ensure that disabled people receive the full protection of the law.
It is we, the victims of crisis capitalism, who are to be made to pay the debts of the casino bankers who still rake in obscene bonuses while whole families are thrown out onto the streets and disabled people are driven to suicide through worry and neglect.
We note that the wealth of the super-rich has in fact increased by a third since the beginning of this financial crisis. A crisis that enables them to raid the crown jewels of countries such as Greece where public assets are to be sold off at bargain-basement prices.
We have seen the majority of the population of our neighbour Ireland sink into severe poverty as a result of the IMF and World Bank’s demands. Meanwhile, the top 1% of the Irish nation continues to emerge unscathed.
We see that wealth inequality in theUnited Statesis higher now than it was in 1923 and that 5m million of our American brothers and sisters are food poor and live in abject penury.
“No Return to the 1930’s”.
After the Second World War, the cry of the British people was “No Return to the 1930’s”.
We, the disabled people of the UK make this call again today.
All of the advances to our welfare and human rights which have been so hard fought for and won at great sacrifice by previous generations of citizens and activists are now under full-scale attack by the neoliberal elites.
We say : WE WILL NOT PAY FOR YOUR CRISIS!
We are not going to go quietly into your dark night!
FUNDAMENTAL HUMAN RIGHTS
The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is the blueprint for our demands:
“The Convention follows decades of work by the United Nations to change attitudes and approaches to persons with disabilities. It takes to a new height the movement from viewing persons with disabilities as “objects” of charity, medical treatment and social protection towards viewing persons with disabilities as “subjects” with rights, who are capable of claiming those rights and making decisions for their lives based on their free and informed consent as well as being active members of society.
The Convention is intended as a human rights instrument with an explicit, social development dimension. It adopts a broad categorization of persons with disabilities and reaffirms that all persons with all types of disabilities must enjoy all human rights and fundamental freedoms. It clarifies and qualifies how all categories of rights apply to persons with disabilities and identifies areas where adaptations have to be made for persons with disabilities to effectively exercise their rights and areas where their rights have been violated, and where protection of rights must be reinforced.”
The States Parties to the present Convention,
- Recalling the principles proclaimed in the Charter of the United Nations which recognize the inherent dignity and worth and the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family as the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world,
- Recognizing that the United Nations, in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and in the International Covenants on Human Rights, has proclaimed and agreed that everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth therein, without distinction of any kind,
- Reaffirming the universality, indivisibility, interdependence and interrelatedness of all human rights and fundamental freedoms and the need for persons with disabilities to be guaranteed their full enjoyment without discrimination,
- Recalling the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families,
- Recognizing that disability is an evolving concept and that disability results from the interaction between persons with impairments and attitudinal and environmental barriers that hinders their full and effective participation in society on an equal basis with others,
- Recognizing the importance of the principles and policy guidelines contained in the World Programme of Action concerning Disabled Persons and in the Standard Rules on the Equalization of Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities in influencing the promotion, formulation and evaluation of the policies, plans, programmes and actions at the national, regional and international levels to further equalize opportunities for persons with disabilities,
- Emphasizing the importance of mainstreaming disability issues as an integral part of relevant strategies of sustainable development,
- Recognizing also that discrimination against any person on the basis of disability is a violation of the inherent dignity and worth of the human person,
- Recognizing further the diversity of persons with disabilities,
- Recognizing the need to promote and protect the human rights of all persons with disabilities, including those who require more intensive support,
- Concerned that, despite these various instruments and undertakings, persons with disabilities continue to face barriers in their participation as equal members of society and violations of their human rights in all parts of the world,
- Recognizing the importance of international cooperation for improving the living conditions of persons with disabilities in every country, particularly in developing countries,
- Recognizing the valued existing and potential contributions made by persons with disabilities to the overall well-being and diversity of their communities, and that the promotion of the full enjoyment by persons with disabilities of their human rights and fundamental freedoms and of full participation by persons with disabilities will result in their enhanced sense of belonging and in significant advances in the human, social and economic development of society and the eradication of poverty,
- Recognizing the importance for persons with disabilities of their individual autonomy and independence, including the freedom to make their own choices,
- Considering that persons with disabilities should have the opportunity to be actively involved in decision-making processes about policies and programmes, including those directly concerning them,
- Concerned about the difficult conditions faced by persons with disabilities who are subject to multiple or aggravated forms of discrimination on the basis of race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national, ethnic, indigenous or social origin, property, birth, age or other status,
- Recognizing that women and girls with disabilities are often at greater risk, both within and outside the home, of violence, injury or abuse, neglect or negligent treatment, maltreatment or exploitation,
- Recognizing that children with disabilities should have full enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms on an equal basis with other children, and recalling obligations to that end undertaken by States Parties to the Convention on the Rights of the Child,
- Emphasizing the need to incorporate a gender perspective in all efforts to promote the full enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms by persons with disabilities,
- Highlighting the fact that the majority of persons with disabilities live in conditions of poverty, and in this regard recognizing the critical need to address the negative impact of poverty on persons with disabilities,
- Bearing in mind that conditions of peace and security based on full respect for the purposes and principles contained in the Charter of the United Nations and observance of applicable human rights instruments are indispensable for the full protection of persons with disabilities, in particular during armed conflicts and foreign occupation,
- Recognizing the importance of accessibility to the physical, social, economic and cultural environment, to health and education and to information and communication, in enabling persons with disabilities to fully enjoy all human rights and fundamental freedoms,
- Realizing that the individual, having duties to other individuals and to the community to which he or she belongs, is under a responsibility to strive for the promotion and observance of the rights recognized in the International Bill of Human Rights,
- Convinced that the family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State, and that persons with disabilities and their family members should receive the necessary protection and assistance to enable families to contribute towards the full and equal enjoyment of the rights of persons with disabilities,
- Convinced that a comprehensive and integral international convention to promote and protect the rights and dignity of persons with disabilities will make a significant contribution to redressing the profound social disadvantage of persons with disabilities and promote their participation in the civil, political, economic, social and cultural spheres with equal opportunities, in both developing and developed countries,
Article 3 – General principles
The principles of the present Convention shall be:
- Respect for inherent dignity, individual autonomy including the freedom to make one’s own choices, and independence of persons;
- Full and effective participation and inclusion in society;
- Respect for difference and acceptance of persons with disabilities as part of human diversity and humanity;
- Equality of opportunity;
- Equality between men and women;
- Respect for the evolving capacities of children with disabilities and respect for the right of children with disabilities to preserve their identities.
States Parties reaffirm that every human being has the inherent right to life and shall take all necessary measures to ensure its effective enjoyment by persons with disabilities on an equal basis with others.
There has been no proper ‘risk assessment’ made to the government’s welfare reform programme. 1.5 million people who are in receipt of sickness and/or disability benefits are being reassessed using a deeply flawed “Work Capability Assessment” in the UK.
It has found hundreds of thousands of very sick and/or disabled people ‘fit for work’ . It does not take into account the considered and settled medical opinions of their doctors and specialists but relies primarily on the ‘Logic Integrated Medical Assessment’ (LIMA) computer programme. It is carried out by French multinational IT company Atos Origin Healthcare Limited on behalf of the Department for Work and Pensions.
40% of appellants to the Tribunals Service who are unrepresented win their appeals.
70% is the average success rate for appeals among those who are represented. In some areas of Glasgow the rate is as high as 90%.
As Steve Griffiths recently wrote:
“What would happen if, in the criminal justice system, half of appeals were found in favour of the appellant?
It would be evidence that there was something deeply wrong.
There would be a high profile debate about wrongful imprisonment.
Yet these disallowances, which affect the financial support of hundreds of thousands of very poor sick and disabled people, go largely unreported. It is evidently a matter that is unworthy of our attention.
It is my contention that this represents a shameful democratic deficit.”
The catalyst for the founding of our Black Triangle Campaign was the suicide of a member of our local community, Paul Reekie, poet and author. Paul took his life after he was refused the assistance that he needed following such an assessment. The fact of his benefits having been cut off may not have been the reason why he killed himself, but it was something that may have tipped him over the edge.
Since that fateful day, there have been numerous other instances of people having taken their own lives in the wake of this barbaric assessment regime.
4. & 5.
Article 11 – Situations of risk and humanitarian emergencies
States Parties shall take, in accordance with their obligations under international law, including international humanitarian law and international human rights law, all necessary measures to ensure the protection and safety of persons with disabilities in situations of risk, including situations of armed conflict, humanitarian emergencies and the occurrence of natural disasters.
No risk proper medical risk assessment has been made of the welfare reforms programme’s likely impact on the disabled population of theUK
Article 12 – Equal recognition before the law
1. States Parties reaffirm that persons with disabilities have the right to recognition everywhere as persons before the law.
Legal aid is being withdrawn from disabled people to enforce their rights at law by the ConDem regime:
2. States Parties shall recognize that persons with disabilities enjoy legal capacity on an equal basis with others in all aspects of life.
3. States Parties shall take appropriate measures to provide access by persons with disabilities to the support they may require in exercising their legal capacity.
4. States Parties shall ensure that all measures that relate to the exercise of legal capacity provide for appropriate and effective safeguards to prevent abuse in accordance with international human rights law. Such safeguards shall ensure that measures relating to the exercise of legal capacity respect the rights, will and preferences of the person, are free of conflict of interest and undue influence, are proportional and tailored to the person’s circumstances, apply for the shortest time possible and are subject to regular review by a competent, independent and impartial authority or judicial body. The safeguards shall be proportional to the degree to which such measures affect the person’s rights and interests.
“Office of the Legal Guardian are facing severe cuts to staff. These workers help ensure that the interests of disabled persons are guarded. Its loss is an attack on their fundamental human rights.
5. Subject to the provisions of this article, States Parties shall take all appropriate and effective measures to ensure the equal right of persons with disabilities to own or inherit property, to control their own financial affairs and to have equal access to bank loans, mortgages and other forms of financial credit, and shall ensure that persons with disabilities are not arbitrarily deprived of their property.
Article 13 – Access to justice
1. States Parties shall ensure effective access to justice for persons with disabilities on an equal basis with others, including through the provision of procedural and age-appropriate accommodations, in order to facilitate their effective role as direct and indirect participants, including as witnesses, in all legal proceedings, including at investigative and other preliminary stages.
The true costs of the governments destructive cuts –
The government’s destructive cuts:
- Will save £350m but cost the taxpayer much more – cutting legal aid is a false economy
- Will bring additional costs to government departments and local MPs, who can expect more hardship and legal problems in their constituencies
- Leave families, the unemployed, the elderly and infirm with no access to justice
- Remove legal support in cases of clinical negligence, welfare and employment
- Will leave 725,000 victims without justice each year
- Reduce social cohesion, increase criminality and silence the vulnerable
- Abandon the principle that everyone is equal in the eyes of the law
2. In order to help to ensure effective access to justice for persons with disabilities, States Parties shall promote appropriate training for those working in the field of administration of justice, including police and prison staff.
The rights of disabled people are systematically breached in our prison and criminal justice system. For example, paranoid schizophrenics make up less than 1% of the population but 10% of the prison population. There is a consensus across the board that they do not belong in prison, but there seems to be no will to do anything about this. In effect, mental illness has been criminalised to a scandalous degree in our ‘modern’UK.
Article 14 – Liberty and security of person
1. States Parties shall ensure that persons with disabilities, on an equal basis with others:
a) Enjoy the right to liberty and security of person;
b) Are not deprived of their liberty unlawfully or arbitrarily, and that any deprivation of liberty is in conformity with the law, and that the existence of a disability shall in no case justify a deprivation of liberty.
2. States Parties shall ensure that if persons with disabilities are deprived of their liberty through any process, they are, on an equal basis with others, entitled to guarantees in accordance with international human rights law and shall be treated in compliance with the objectives and principles of the present Convention, including by provision of reasonable accommodation.
“They are imprisoned when they have not done anything wrong,” said Keith Smith, chief executive of the British Institute of Learning Disabilities, which produces good practice on this client group. “They are losing all the opportunities that come with living with family and community and in many cases people will become institutionalised.”
Article 15 – Freedom from torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment
1. No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. In particular, no one shall be subjected without his or her free consent to medical or scientific experimentation.
“Twelve doctors employed by the firm that is paid £100m a year to assess people claiming disability benefit are under investigation by the General Medical Council over allegations of improper conduct. The doctors, who work for Atos Healthcare, a French-owned company recently criticised by MPs for its practices, face being struck off if they are found not to have put the care of patients first.”
“The Observer has found that seven of the doctors have been under investigation for more than seven months. The other five were placed under investigation this year following complaints about their conduct.
It is understood that the majority of allegations concern the treatment of vulnerable people when the government’s controversial “work capability assessments” were carried out, but the GMC refused to comment on individual cases.”
2. States Parties shall take all effective legislative, administrative, judicial or other measures to prevent persons with disabilities, on an equal basis with others, from being subjected to torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.
“Andrew McDonnell, who works with adults with mental disabilities, labelled some of the examples seen on film “torture”. “
Article 16 – Freedom from exploitation, violence and abuse
1. States Parties shall take all appropriate legislative, administrative, social, educational and other measures to protect persons with disabilities, both within and outside the home, from all forms of exploitation, violence and abuse, including their gender-based aspects.
2. States Parties shall also take all appropriate measures to prevent all forms of exploitation, violence and abuse by ensuring, inter alia, appropriate forms of gender- and age-sensitive assistance and support for persons with disabilities and their families and caregivers, including through the provision of information and education on how to avoid, recognize and report instances of exploitation, violence and abuse. States Parties shall ensure that protection services are age-, gender- and disability-sensitive.
3. In order to prevent the occurrence of all forms of exploitation, violence and abuse, States Parties shall ensure that all facilities and programmes designed to serve persons with disabilities are effectively monitored by independent authorities.
4. States Parties shall take all appropriate measures to promote the physical, cognitive and psychological recovery, rehabilitation and social reintegration of persons with disabilities who become victims of any form of exploitation, violence or abuse, including through the provision of protection services. Such recovery and reintegration shall take place in an environment that fosters the health, welfare, self-respect, dignity and autonomy of the person and takes into account gender- and age-specific needs.
5. States Parties shall put in place effective legislation and policies, including women- and child-focused legislation and policies, to ensure that instances of exploitation, violence and abuse against persons with disabilities are identified, investigated and, where appropriate, prosecuted.
Article 17 – Protecting the integrity of the person
Every person with disabilities has a right to respect for his or her physical and mental integrity on an equal basis with others. (Jody)
Article 19 – Living independently and being included in the community
States Parties to the present Convention recognize the equal right of all persons with disabilities to live in the community, with choices equal to others, and shall take effective and appropriate measures to facilitate full enjoyment by persons with disabilities of this right and their full inclusion and participation in the community, including by ensuring that:
a) Persons with disabilities have the opportunity to choose their place of residence and where and with whom they live on an equal basis with others and are not obliged to live in a particular living arrangement;
b) Persons with disabilities have access to a range of in-home, residential and other community support services, including personal assistance necessary to support living and inclusion in the community, and to prevent isolation or segregation from the community;
c) Community services and facilities for the general population are available on an equal basis to persons with disabilities and are responsive to their needs.
Anger as ILF changes threatens independent living:
Dec 2010: The last generation to access Independent Living Funds
The Independent Living Fund has announced that the Fund will be closed to new applicants with immediate effect. At the same time, it has confirmed that existing users funding will only be protected for the length of the current Parliament, i.e. until 2015 at the latest. These measures are said to result from ILF’s need to manage within a capped budget.
The Fund awards payments directly to disabled people to support the cost of their personal care and or domestic assistance. It is sometimes used to top up packages of support from local authorities, which themselves are being affected by cuts to services. For many disabled people, care and support is a crucial part of life and for those disabled people who can and want to work, it can make the difference between employment and unemployment. However, with the changes to the ILF criteria, many disabled people who want to contribute to society and earn an income will be limited to life and limb services rather than opportunities for employment. :
Article 20 – Personal mobility
States Parties shall take effective measures to ensure personal mobility with the greatest possible independence for persons with disabilities, including by:
a) Facilitating the personal mobility of persons with disabilities in the manner and at the time of their choice, and at affordable cost;
b) Facilitating access by persons with disabilities to quality mobility aids, devices, assistive technologies and forms of live assistance and intermediaries, including by making them available at affordable cost;
c) Providing training in mobility skills to persons with disabilities and to specialist staff working with persons with disabilities;
d) Encouraging entities that produce mobility aids, devices and assistive technologies to take into account all aspects of mobility for persons with disabilities.
Richard Hawkes (pictured), Chief Executive of Scope, said that disabled people were bearing the brunt of the cuts. He said: “This assault on the most vulnerable is characterised by the callous removal of the mobility component of Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for people living in residential care, which will simply increase dependency and mean many people will literally become prisoners in their own homes.”:
Article 21 – Freedom of expression and opinion, and access to information
States Parties shall take all appropriate measures to ensure that persons with disabilities can exercise the right to freedom of expression and opinion, including the freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas on an equal basis with others and through all forms of communication of their choice, as defined in article 2 of the present Convention, including by:
a) Providing information intended for the general public to persons with disabilities in accessible formats and technologies appropriate to different kinds of disabilities in a timely manner and without additional cost;
b) Accepting and facilitating the use of sign languages, Braille, augmentative and alternative communication, and all other accessible means, modes and formats of communication of their choice by persons with disabilities in official interactions;
c) Urging private entities that provide services to the general public, including through the Internet, to provide information and services in accessible and usable formats for persons with disabilities;
d) Encouraging the mass media, including providers of information through the Internet, to make their services accessible to persons with disabilities;
e) Recognizing and promoting the use of sign languages.
Article 22 – Respect for privacy
1. No person with disabilities, regardless of place of residence or living arrangements, shall be subjected to arbitrary or unlawful interference with his or her privacy, family, home or correspondence or other types of communication or to unlawful attacks on his or her honour and reputation. Persons with disabilities have the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.
2. States Parties shall protect the privacy of personal, health and rehabilitation information of persons with disabilities on an equal basis with others.
To be disabled and in receipt of sickness and or disability benefits in today’s Britainis to be under the constant eye of suspicion of neighbours and the state. The mass media feeds into frenzied belief that claimants are scrounging fraudsters “swinging the lead”
All it takes is for a malicious and anonymous phone call to be made for the whole machinery of the state to be brought down upon you and for your life to be turned into a living hell worthy of a Stasi investigation of the former DDR (East Germany).
Investigators can place your entire life under the microscope, rifle through your bank account, question associates and the work colleagues of people who know you.
All this is done using laws which were originally intended by Parliament to combat terrorism and serious organised crime. There is little – rather NO redress for the unfortunate person who is so tyranised. There is no judicial oversight in the issuing of warrants and authorisations for this overt and covert, intrusive surveillance.
“The stark reality is thousands of innocent people in this country have been the subject of covert surveillance in the past two years, and have no idea that the council was watching. In these circumstances, it’s not scaremongering, but simply pointing out the obvious, to say – it could have happened to you.”
“ If the allegation is serious enough to warrant covert surveillance, then the power shouldn’t be in the hands of councils – it should be with the police.”
“For example, in one case at which Neil Bateman assisted, the claimant had failed to declare that she had started living with a man who was in work. As a result she was prosecuted for dishonestly claiming over £47,000 in benefits and looked certain to receive a substantial prison sentence.
Bateman was commissioned by her solicitor to check the figures.
He first examined the alleged £19,000 housing benefit overpayment.
He discovered that the claimant’s household income was so low that if she had declared that her partner was living with her she would still have been entitled to all but £700 of the housing benefit she received.
This was a basic ‘error’ on the DWP’s part that any advice volunteer would have spotted in an instant.”
“Housing Minister Grant Shapps said: “This is an appalling abuse of state powers, and I fear it is just the tip of the iceberg.
“Town halls are not the secret service or the police, but surveillance powers designed to tackle terror and the most serious crimes have been over-used and misused.
“Britainis not a totalitarian state, but we have some laws which are as draconian and arbitrary.
“The new Government will stand up for the privacy and liberty of law-abiding citizens, and change the law to stop the rise of a Town Hall Stasi.”:
Article 23 – Respect for home and the family
1. States Parties shall take effective and appropriate measures to eliminate discrimination against persons with disabilities in all matters relating to marriage, family, parenthood and relationships, on an equal basis with others, so as to ensure that:
a) The right of all persons with disabilities who are of marriageable age to marry and to found a family on the basis of free and full consent of the intending spouses is recognized;
The time-limiting of contribution-based Employment and Support Allowance to one year will have a devastating effect on partnerships between people with disabilities and their partners.
After one year ESA is to be stopped and the disabled partner will then become wholly dependent on their partner. This will inevitably lead to a large number of cases of relationship breakdown owing to the financial strain placed on the working partner.
It constitutes discrimination of the very worst kind.
b) The rights of persons with disabilities to decide freely and responsibly on the number and spacing of their children and to have access to age-appropriate information, reproductive and family planning education are recognized, and the means necessary to enable them to exercise these rights are provided;
c) Persons with disabilities, including children, retain their fertility on an equal basis with others.
2. States Parties shall ensure the rights and responsibilities of persons with disabilities, with regard to guardianship, wardship, trusteeship, adoption of children or similar institutions, where these concepts exist in national legislation; in all cases the best interests of the child shall be paramount. States Parties shall render appropriate assistance to persons with disabilities in the performance of their child-rearing responsibilities.
3. States Parties shall ensure that children with disabilities have equal rights with respect to family life. With a view to realizing these rights, and to prevent concealment, abandonment, neglect and segregation of children with disabilities, States Parties shall undertake to provide early and comprehensive information, services and support to children with disabilities and their families.
4. States Parties shall ensure that a child shall not be separated from his or her parents against their will, except when competent authorities subject to judicial review determine, in accordance with applicable law and procedures, that such separation is necessary for the best interests of the child. In no case shall a child be separated from parents on the basis of a disability of either the child or one or both of the parents.
5. States Parties shall, where the immediate family is unable to care for a child with disabilities, undertake every effort to provide alternative care within the wider family, and failing that, within the community in a family setting.
Article 25 – Health
States Parties recognize that persons with disabilities have the right to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health without discrimination on the basis of disability. States Parties shall take all appropriate measures to ensure access for persons with disabilities to health services that are gender-sensitive, including health-related rehabilitation. In particular, States Parties shall:
a) Provide persons with disabilities with the same range, quality and standard of free or affordable health care and programmes as provided to other persons, including in the area of sexual and reproductive health and population-based public health programmes;
b) Provide those health services needed by persons with disabilities specifically because of their disabilities, including early identification and intervention as appropriate, and services designed to minimize and prevent further disabilities, including among children and older persons;
The work capability assessment’s failure means that the health conditions of vast swathes of disabled people is likely to worsen greatly while they await vindication at Tribunal. This is criminal.
c) Provide these health services as close as possible to people’s own communities, including in rural areas;
d) Require health professionals to provide care of the same quality to persons with disabilities as to others, including on the basis of free and informed consent by, inter alia, raising awareness of the human rights, dignity, autonomy and needs of persons with disabilities through training and the promulgation of ethical standards for public and private health care;
The work capability assessment regime is in our view completely unethical. It does not put the interests of the patient first and violates the fundamental ethical code of the medical and nursing professions to first “do no harm”
e) Prohibit discrimination against persons with disabilities in the provision of health insurance, and life insurance where such insurance is permitted by national law, which shall be provided in a fair and reasonable manner;
f) Prevent discriminatory denial of health care or health services or food and fluids on the basis of disability.
Article 26 – Habilitation and rehabilitation
1. States Parties shall take effective and appropriate measures, including through peer support, to enable persons with disabilities to attain and maintain maximum independence, full physical, mental, social and vocational ability, and full inclusion and participation in all aspects of life. To that end, States Parties shall organize, strengthen and extend comprehensive habilitation and rehabilitation services and programmes, particularly in the areas of health, employment, education and social services, in such a way that these services and programmes:
a) Begin at the earliest possible stage, and are based on the multidisciplinary assessment of individual needs and strengths;
b) Support participation and inclusion in the community and all aspects of society, are voluntary, and are available to persons with disabilities as close as possible to their own communities, including in rural areas.
2. States Parties shall promote the development of initial and continuing training for professionals and staff working in habilitation and rehabilitation services.
3. States Parties shall promote the availability, knowledge and use of assistive devices and technologies, designed for persons with disabilities, as they relate to habilitation and rehabilitation.
Article 27 – Work and employment
1. States Parties recognize the right of persons with disabilities to work, on an equal basis with others; this includes the right to the opportunity to gain a living by work freely chosen or accepted in a labour market and work environment that is open, inclusive and accessible to persons with disabilities. States Parties shall safeguard and promote the realization of the right to work, including for those who acquire a disability during the course of employment, by taking appropriate steps, including through legislation, to, inter alia:
a) Prohibit discrimination on the basis of disability with regard to all matters concerning all forms of employment, including conditions of recruitment, hiring and employment, continuance of employment, career advancement and safe and healthy working conditions;
b) Protect the rights of persons with disabilities, on an equal basis with others, to just and favourable conditions of work, including equal opportunities and equal remuneration for work of equal value, safe and healthy working conditions, including protection from harassment, and the redress of grievances;
c) Ensure that persons with disabilities are able to exercise their labour and trade union rights on an equal basis with others;
d) Enable persons with disabilities to have effective access to general technical and vocational guidance programmes, placement services and vocational and continuing training;
e) Promote employment opportunities and career advancement for persons with disabilities in the labour market, as well as assistance in finding, obtaining, maintaining and returning to employment;
f) Promote opportunities for self-employment, entrepreneurship, the development of cooperatives and starting one’s own business;
g) Employ persons with disabilities in the public sector;
h) Promote the employment of persons with disabilities in the private sector through appropriate policies and measures, which may include affirmative action programmes, incentives and other measures;
i) Ensure that reasonable accommodation is provided to persons with disabilities in the workplace;
j) Promote the acquisition by persons with disabilities of work experience in the open labour market;k) Promote vocational and professional rehabilitation, job retention and return-to-work programmes for persons with disabilities.
2. States Parties shall ensure that persons with disabilities are not held in slavery or in servitude, and are protected, on an equal basis with others, from forced or compulsory labour.
THE WORK PROGRAMME – Forced & compulsory labour:
Article 28 – Adequate standard of living and social protection
1. States Parties recognize the right of persons with disabilities to an adequate standard of living for themselves and their families, including adequate food, clothing and housing, and to the continuous improvement of living conditions, and shall take appropriate steps to safeguard and promote the realization of this right without discrimination on the basis of disability.
2. States Parties recognize the right of persons with disabilities to social protection and to the enjoyment of that right without discrimination on the basis of disability, and shall take appropriate steps to safeguard and promote the realization of this right, including measures:
a) To ensure equal access by persons with disabilities to clean water services, and to ensure access to appropriate and affordable services, devices and other assistance for disability-related needs;
b) To ensure access by persons with disabilities, in particular women and girls with disabilities and older persons with disabilities, to social protection programmes and poverty reduction programmes;
c) To ensure access by persons with disabilities and their families living in situations of poverty to assistance from the State with disability-related expenses, including adequate training, counselling, financial assistance and respite care;
d) To ensure access by persons with disabilities to public housing programmes;
e) To ensure equal access by persons with disabilities to retirement benefits and programmes.
The unlawful deprivation of disability benefits is in contravention of Article 28 – as are all cuts to disability benefits, aids and services
Article 29 – Participation in political and public life
States Parties shall guarantee to persons with disabilities political rights and the opportunity to enjoy them on an equal basis with others, and shall undertake:
a) To ensure that persons with disabilities can effectively and fully participate in political and public life on an equal basis with others, directly or through freely chosen representatives, including the right and opportunity for persons with disabilities to vote and be elected, inter alia, by:
1.Ensuring that voting procedures, facilities and materials are appropriate, accessible and easy to understand and use;
2. Protecting the right of persons with disabilities to vote by secret ballot in elections and public referendums without intimidation, and to stand for elections, to effectively hold office and perform all public functions at all levels of government, facilitating the use of assistive and new technologies where appropriate;
3. Guaranteeing the free expression of the will of persons with disabilities as electors and to this end, where necessary, at their request, allowing assistance in voting by a person of their own choice;
b) To promote actively an environment in which persons with disabilities can effectively and fully participate in the conduct of public affairs, without discrimination and on an equal basis with others, and encourage their participation in public affairs, including:
1. Participation in non-governmental organizations and associations concerned with the public and political life of the country, and in the activities and administration of political parties;
2. Forming and joining organizations of persons with disabilities to represent persons with disabilities at international, national, regional and local levels.
Article 30 – Participation in cultural life, recreation, leisure and sport
1. States Parties recognize the right of persons with disabilities to take part on an equal basis with others in cultural life, and shall take all appropriate measures to ensure that persons with disabilities:
a) Enjoy access to cultural materials in accessible formats;
b) Enjoy access to television programmes, films, theatre and other cultural activities, in accessible formats;
c) Enjoy access to places for cultural performances or services, such as theatres, museums, cinemas, libraries and tourism services, and, as far as possible, enjoy access to monuments and sites of national cultural importance.
2. States Parties shall take appropriate measures to enable persons with disabilities to have the opportunity to develop and utilize their creative, artistic and intellectual potential, not only for their own benefit, but also for the enrichment of society.
3. States Parties shall take all appropriate steps, in accordance with international law, to ensure that laws protecting intellectual property rights do not constitute an unreasonable or discriminatory barrier to access by persons with disabilities to cultural materials.
4. Persons with disabilities shall be entitled, on an equal basis with others, to recognition and support of their specific cultural and linguistic identity, including sign languages and deaf culture.
5. With a view to enabling persons with disabilities to participate on an equal basis with others in recreational, leisure and sporting activities, States Parties shall take appropriate measures:
a) To encourage and promote the participation, to the fullest extent possible, of persons with disabilities in mainstream sporting activities at all levels;
b) To ensure that persons with disabilities have an opportunity to organize, develop and participate in disability-specific sporting and recreational activities and, to this end, encourage the provision, on an equal basis with others, of appropriate instruction, training and resources;
c) To ensure that persons with disabilities have access to sporting, recreational and tourism venues;
d) To ensure that children with disabilities have equal access with other children to participation in play, recreation and leisure and sporting activities, including those activities in the school system;
By removal of day care centres and support for community organisations and by driving disabled people into abject penury and destitution, the government is in clear breach of its obligations under this article.
Article 31 – Statistics and data collection
1. States Parties undertake to collect appropriate information, including statistical and research data, to enable them to formulate and implement policies to give effect to the present Convention. The process of collecting and maintaining this information shall:
a) Comply with legally established safeguards, including legislation on data protection, to ensure confidentiality and respect for the privacy of persons with disabilities;
b) Comply with internationally accepted norms to protect human rights and fundamental freedoms and ethical principles in the collection and use of statistics.
2. The information collected in accordance with this article shall be disaggregated, as appropriate, and used to help assess the implementation of States Parties’ obligations under the present Convention and to identify and address the barriers faced by persons with disabilities in exercising their rights.
3. States Parties shall assume responsibility for the dissemination of these statistics and ensure their accessibility to persons with disabilities and others.
Statistics on the outcomes of disabled people under the welfare reforms is not being performed to the best of our knowledge. Many tens of thousands of people are falling under the radar. The government is systematically abusing statistics to suit its agenda for cuts.
We are now witnessing an unprecedented onslaught on the fundamental rights of persons with disabilities in the United Kingdom.
We call upon all people of good will everywhere to join with us in solidarity in bringing an immediate end to this shameful pogrom.
Whether you write about it to publicise and expose the situation in your communities and among your representatives, participate in acts of peaceful direct action and resistance or whether you donate a few pounds, euros or dollars to our campaign to enable us to carry on and step up our work you must do something!
To remain silent is to be complicit!
In the words of Anne Novis M.B.E.
“Yes you, and you and you, all of you who stand by and say nothing or encourage such vicious and undeserving attacks are just as responsible for what is happening.
Those who stand by and allow this are equivalent to those who stood by when disabled people and Jews were targeted by the Nazi’s for annihilation.
Too harsh for you?
Its our lives we are fighting for, our very lives, some have already killed themselves due to what is happening, many more are considering it.
Will you stand by?”
“I come from a people who gave the Ten Commandments to the world. Time has come to strenghten them by three additional ones, which we ought to adopt and commit ourselves to: thou shall not be a perpetrator; thou shall not be a victim; and thou shall never, but never, be a bystander.”
John J McArdle
The Black Triangle Anti-Defamation Campaign in Defence of Disability Rights