Concern over UN’s ‘silence’ on benefit-related deaths

Concern has already been voiced that the United Nations is not doing its job. What do we think of this development?

Disabled activists fear that the UN committee examining the UK’s progress on implementing the disability rights convention may be ignoring links between the government’s welfare reforms and the deaths of benefit claimants.

This week, the UN committee on the rights of persons with disabilities (CRPD) published its “list of issues”, the areas where it believes the UK government may have failed in its obligations under the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD).

The UK and devolved governments will now be expected to respond to the list, while disabled people’s organisations (DPOs) and other bodies, including the Equality and Human Rights Commission, can also submit their responses to the committee.

The list was published three weeks after DPOs came together to tell CRPD how they believed the UK government had been breaching the convention.

One of the key areas that DPOs focused on during last month’s session in Geneva was the impact of benefit sanctions on disabled people and the links between welfare reforms and the deaths of disabled claimants.

The committee was told how government ministers ignored a prevention of future deaths letter from a coroner in 2010 – following the death of Stephen Carré – which warned that other people with mental health conditions would die if they did not take action to improve the safety of the work capability assessment (WCA).

But Iain Duncan Smith (pictured) ignored his legal duty to reply to the letter, and, when he appointed an independent expert, Professor Malcolm Harrington, to review the WCA, failed to show him the letter.

Duncan Smith and his employment minister, Chris Grayling, announced that summer – against Harrington’s advice – that they were going to roll out the WCA the following spring to hundreds of thousands of existing claimants of incapacity benefit.

As a result of that decision, the test’s flaws were not corrected, and many other people with mental health conditions lost their lives.

But there has been concern this week that there is no explicit mention of this and other similar areas of concern, including the impact of imposing benefit sanctions on disabled people, in the committee’s list of issues.

The committee does use the list to ask the government which measures it has taken to monitor the cumulative impact of its welfare reforms and tax policies, and to ensure that the WCA – which tests eligibility for out-of-work disability benefits – is “based on the human rights model of disability”.

It also asks for information on measures taken “to address suicide rates among persons with disabilities, including in relation to disability-related discrimination”.

But there is no explicit mention of concerns that welfare reforms have breached disabled people’s right to life, particularly through the use of benefit sanctions and the links between flaws in the WCA and the deaths of claimants.

Source: Concern over UN’s ‘silence’ on benefit-related deaths

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10 thoughts on “Concern over UN’s ‘silence’ on benefit-related deaths

  1. Dez

    No surprise there from a globalist run organisation defending fellow members from unsavoury issues

  2. Jeffrey Davies

    Hmm help from the in the toothless tiger. While they debate about it more culling of the stock through benefits denial

  3. marcusdemowbray

    So far I have not been at all impressed with UN. Their first Investigation, Report and Recommendations brought absolutely NOTHING from the Tories except scorn and even more draconian, and frequently fatal cuts. If there are laws, conventions and rules they should be enforced.

    Unless something radical does occur I will have no choice but to consider the UN to be absolutely useless at preventing The Brutality.

  4. lin wren

    I came to that conclusion a long time ago. The U.N. is not doing the job its meant to do, looking after human rights. It has become more involved in the politics than in the people suffering illegally. Not fit for purpose

  5. casalealex

    What exactly is the job of the United Nations? All I see is that the UN does a load of ‘investigations’; they inform the governments of their findings, and the governments completely ignore them. The same often happens with their ‘resolutions’ which are also often ignored. So what is the point of the UN?

  6. Florence

    Very troubling indeed. I have felt for a long time that the CRPD is somehow a little embarrassed about the UK govt being in such blatant breech of the UN convention. It certainly doesn’t act as if it intends to flex muscles

  7. pat

    My brother had his Atos assessment 7th April The stress of having to have this assessment ultimately took his life he passed away in his sleep this morning, the 9th April 2017

    Why did Atos put my brother through all this stress, they had the medical evidence to prove how seriously ill he was, his heart was only working at 19%,he was insulin dependent, acute liver & kidney failure, he also had 3 heart attacks October 2016

    My brother could not even walk to his kitchen as each time he attempted to walk he would pass out.

    At his home assessment my brother was asked can you walk to the bathroom, can you cook etc, My brother could not even stand up without passing out.
    The DWP should be made accountable for all these deaths.

    The UN should be more forceful in holding this government to account.

    Rest in peace now my dear brother xxxx

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