JCHR Independent Living report - briefing


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Briefing for the Parliamentary seminar celebrating and discussing the launch of the JCHR's Independent Living report.

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JCHR Independent Living report - briefing

  1. 1. Parliamentary SeminarBriefing: The Joint Committee on Human Rights Report:The implementation of disabled peoples right toindependent livingThe UNCRPD• Re-affirms the human rights of “persons with disabilities” as set out in ICCPR, ICESCR and other UN Treaties (e.g. UNCRC, UNCEDAW) and situates these in the context of disability e.g. right to live independently and to be included in the community• Underpins and promotes a modern understanding of disability and independent living, that recognises the essential role of “material support” in ensuring disabled people can “participate in society and lead an ordinary life” (ILiS, 2009)• Policy that instead focuses on going it alone, fails to understand the essential nature of the support needed to ensure the equal participation of disabled people as contributors to, not imprisoned as benefactors of societyThe report• highlights that there is no evidence of UNCRPD playing a part in relevant policy development and decision making• raises concern at the low awareness of the UNCRPD among disabled people• raises concerns that current policies do not support the implementation of the UNCRPD and risk undoing many of the rights long fought for and won by disabled people• seeks assurances of the involvement of disabled people in future policy and decision making, scrutiny and monitoring• recommends freestanding legislation to give more concrete effect in UK law to right to independent living• suggests that the UK disability strategy forms the basis of an action plan on the UNCRPD• affirms the essential role of Disabled People’s Organisations and suggests they are supported and developed to enable them to provide independent information, advice, and advocacyWhat next?Central to much of what the report suggests, are disabled people. They are anunder-used and under-resourced source of information and potential that cansupport the implementation of the UNCRPD. UNCRPD protects the support andparticipation of disabled people, their right to organise and to self determination; andtheir existence supports the implementation and monitoring of it. They are key to:• the understanding of independent living needed to harness disabled people’s potential• ensuring policies and practices take account of the UNCRPD
  2. 2. • wider societal acceptance of some of the difficult fiscal decisions needed to implement the UNCRPDA focus on both accountability and localism places greater emphasis on the role ofcommunities in decision making. Independent living recognises that disabled peopleare best placed to make decisions on their own lives and that when they worktogether, they can affect the change in society that currently disables them.However, often disabled people are seldom heard. This means that their assets as‘community level policy makers’ are missed and their voice in policy and practise, notheard.The result is policy and practice that leads to the chipping away of the long foughtrights of disabled people, protected in the Convention and other domestic andinternational protections.Coproduction empowers disabled people and communities to be involved in thedecisions that affect them and to progress the realisation of independent living andhuman rights as a result. It can lead to better outcomes because the process isdirectly informed by disabled people and to more creative ideas because it problemsare addressed from the different perspectives. It builds on the collective assets ofthe whole community and ensures that each voice is heard and is equal. Thisapproach is underpinned in Article 4(3) of the UNCRPD and is crucial to theimplementation of it. It requires culture and structural change and crucially, it needs acritical mass behind it. This means the development and support of DPO’s isessential.In these austere times there are challenges for disabled people and theirorganisations; for finances, for support and for their recognition as key players in therealisation of human rights. Where policies dont take account of the UNCRPD, dontunderstand its relevance for the participation of disabled people, they and theirorganisations will remain an untouched source of potential.The rhetoric supporting equality and human rights of disabled people is the strongestits ever been and the expectations of them are understandably high. It is importantthat we work together to realise these rights.This report is a tool to form the basis of the necessary dialogue between disabledpeople, government, independent mechanisms and other actors to plan next stepsand ensure that disabled people are central to the policy making, scrutiny andmonitoring needed to turn the rhetoric of rights into reality.Pam DuncanIntern with Baroness Campbell of SurbitonMarch 2012