UN investigating British Government over human rights abuses caused by IDS welfare reforms

A leading disability charity says it has been approached by the UN as part of an investigation

Siobhan Fenton
Monday 31 August 2015 11:15
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Campaigners say that disabled people have been disproportionately hit by Iain Duncan Smith's welfare reforms
Campaigners say that disabled people have been disproportionately hit by Iain Duncan Smith's welfare reforms

The UN is to visit the UK to investigate whether Iain Duncan Smith’s welfare reforms have caused “grave or systematic violations” of disabled peoples’ human rights, it has been reported.

A leading disability charity says that they have been contacted by the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities as part of an investigation into human rights abuses against disabled people in the UK.

Inclusion Scotland, a consortium of disability organisations in Scotland, says the UN committee has advised them that they will be sending a Special Rapporteur to the UK in the “near future” as part of their probe.

Director of Policy Bill Scott told The Sunday Herald: “The UN have notified us they will be visiting Britain to investigate… and want to meet with us when they come, sometime in the next few months.”

The UN conducts such investigations “confidentially” and will not confirm or deny if they are currently investigating the UK.

The UN’s special investigator on housing has previously urged the government to scrap the bedroom tax, after hearing “shocking” accounts of how it was affecting disabled and vulnerable people.

Last week, the Department of Work and Pensions revealed that 2,380 people have died within six weeks of being declared ‘fit to work’ by the government between 2011 and 2014.

The Department for Work and Pensions battled for months against disability charities and campaigners in order to not to release the numbers, with Mr Duncan Smith at one point telling Parliament they did not exist.

However, the Information Commissioner ruled that the government had no justifiable reason to withhold the figures.

Disability rights campaigners and charities have argued that disabled people have seen their quality of life decline under welfare reform and government cuts to services.

Research by The Centre for Welfare Reform found that disabled people have already been hit up to 19 times harder by cuts than others.

When contacted by The Independent , The Department of Work and Pensions declined to comment.

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