Campaigns and activities
This would be putting it too strongly in the face of a government agenda to reduce the support disabled people enjoy in such areas as access to work, benefits and independent living. However, the matter is not straightforward, as there are some areas where government departments have started initiatives to better include disabled people in society. (This happens not least because of disabled persons' campaigning, so it is difficult to assess to what extent positive government initiatives are thanks to the Convention and to what extent they are for other reasons).
Yes. The UK Government's Office for Disability Issues (ODI) is the focal point at UK level for coordinating implementation of the Convention.
The Equality and Human Rights Commission (Commission) together with the Scottish Human Rights Commission (SHRC), the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission (NIHR) and the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland (ECNI) are the four designated independent bodies which are collectively the UK Independent Mechanism (UKIM) for the Convention.
To promote, protect and monitor the implementation of the Convention in the UK.
The ODI coordinates with the human rights bodies.
ODI has done some promotional work through meetings and workshops. EHRC has done likewise.
The UK Disabled People's Council (UKDPC) set up a website on which its member organisations and disabled individuals could submit comments on the UK's implementation of the Convention, and this helped raised awareness of the Convention.
Many other organisations have done at least something to promote the Convention, if only via their websites or factsheets.
The UK Government, in partnership with the devolved administrations of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, is responsible for ensuring that the Convention is implemented.
The national human rights commissions mentioned in section 2 above monitor progress being made by the governments of Britain in implementing the Convention and report on that progress to the UN. They provide advice and information to disabled people and to public authorities. They also try to mainstream the Convention into their work – for example when enforcing the law or influencing government policy.
At the time of writing, RNIB is working with coalitions of disabled people's organisations to submit our comments on the UK's implementation of the Convention for the UN Committee's examination of the UK's performance which will start in September 2014 and finish in the spring of 2015.
We have been reminding government of the need to respect the Convention's requirements ever since the UK government signed and ratified it, and we continue to do so in our campaigning work across a range of issues.
Both the Government and human rights bodies have at some stages made a small amount of money available for this work, and have had varying levels of staff dedicated to the matter.
Yes, as per the answer to question 8, this is happening over the later part of 2014 and the early part of 2015.
We are working on it now. (May 2014)
We are perhaps better-placed than some countries regarding respect for the Convention requirements, but the recent cuts agenda and talk in the media of the possible rolling back of human rights law in the UK underlines the need to avoid complacency. Furthermore, there are many areas where the Convention's requirements are far from fully implemented in the UK, such as accessible bus travel and information provision, to name but two.
The Office for Disability Issues (ODI), based in the Department for Work and Pensions, is the focal point in the UK government. The ODI has to work with the devolved governments; that is with the Equality Unit in Scotland the Executive Office in Northern Ireland and the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Division in Wales because these are the relevant focal points for devolved matters. ODI is also the Coordination mechanism.
The four human rights organisations in the UK form the Independent Mechanism: the Equality and Human Rights Commission, the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission, the Equality Commission Northern Ireland and the Scottish Human Rights Commission.
Government cuts have had a severe impact. Since 2015, the umbrella group UK Disabled People's Council (UKDPC) has closed due to lack of funds. While Disability Rights UK has taken on this role, it also is experiencing funding shortages. Cuts to the EHRC independent mechanism have been accompanied by a weakening in the power of the Disability Committee, which now has an advisory rather than statutory brief.