Committee reports on disability rights

04 January 2009

In a report released today, the Joint Select Committee on Human Rights called on the Government to end delays in ratifying the UN Convention on Disability Rights and justify the large number of "reservations" or exceptions it is putting forward

The Government has missed its deadline of ratifying the Convention by the end of 2008. In addition, the UK is proposing as many reservations as all the other states that have currently ratified combined. The Committee says this undermines the Government’s claim to being committed to ensuring that all "rights are enjoyed by all people" equally.

The Committee is also concerned that progress towards ratification has so far lacked transparency and the Government has "unfortunately alienated disabled people and their organisations" by failing to consult properly.

Committee Chair Andrew Dismore MP said:

"The UK has led the field in pushing for the acceptance of this convention and advocating the rights of people with disabilities to equal treatment. That is why we are particularly disappointed at the trouble we and disability organisations have had getting information about the large number of legal exceptions the Government wishes to make to this convention, and at the delays in ratifying it.

"The Government should ratify by spring 2009. If reservations are necessary they should be fully justified and compatible with the Convention. And we call on the Government to consult properly with the people who will be affected by these policies as they develop them".

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