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sanction-sabs

According to Vox Political  and the Disability News Service, the UK government seems to have become the first country to face a high-level inquiry by the United Nation’s Committee on the Rights of Persons With Disabilities (CRPD), writes Ann McGauran.

Surely here in the UK we wouldn’t abuse disabled people? Could that really happen in London, for example – a sophisticated and rich world capital, recently revealed by an article in Forbes as the world’s “most influential global city”?

A few days ago I caught up with long-standing Greenwich food bank client Mark Bothwell, who has depression and whose shoulder injury had developed into a chronic problem. I’ve interviewed Mark many times, and he’s a warm, intelligent and engaging young man of 29. His experiences must make him one of those said to be experiencing diabolical treatment – those “grave violations” – at the hands of the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) over many, many months. Mark told me that by July he was so distraught that he felt  suicidal.

[Referring to the way the DWP handled his ESA claim, he said:] “From about the beginning of June until mid-July I made about 60 phone calls trying to sort out the appeals and the (lost) ESA (claim). I had to resubmit the application for ESA because they said they lost it. On almost every phone call I’d be told something different. That process left me feeling suicidal. They were telling me a different thing every single time. They would tell me it (my money) would be a week, then I phoned up and they said no they shouldn’t have told you that. Then with the last phone call the woman said, no it doesn’t happen like that, it takes another two weeks. She was so rude I just hung up and collapsed on the floor. Tears were running down my face. I actually said out loud the word suicide to my flatmate, to my family and to complete strangers. I hit rock bottom around July 10-12.”

About a week later, Mark was told that he would get ESA, and that it would be backdated from the end of May…

You can read the rest of this account – and there is much more – on Ann’s own site but here’s a question for you to consider right now: Having read Mr Bothwell’s account of his treatment as part of routine DWP work, do you think the UK has slid from being an international disability rights leader to risking becoming a “systematic violator of these same rights”?

It is described as such in a new report, Dignity and Opportunity for All: Securing the Rights of Disabled People in the Austerity Era, published by the Just Fair consortium, which includes Disabled People Against Cuts and Inclusion London.

Your views are requested.

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