Response to the Inquiry by the United Nations Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

The Scottish Human Rights Commission welcomes the findings of an Inquiry by the United Nations Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities into the cumulative impact of UK Government welfare laws and policies on the human rights of disabled people.

We note with concern the Committee’s conclusion that the UK Government’s welfare change programme has resulted in grave and systematic violations of disabled people’s human rights. The Commission considers the Committee’s Inquiry process to have been robust, comprehensive and based on a systematic review of the evidence available. We welcome the fact that disabled people’s organisations were invited and supported to take part in the Inquiry.

We call on the UK Government to act urgently on each of the Committee’s recommendations, so that disabled people are able to access all of their rights, including the right to live independently, to work and to an adequate standard of living. These rights are protected in international law by the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. We will monitor the Convention’s implementation in Scotland.

The Committee’s findings underscore the importance of taking a rights-based approach to policy-making. As the Scottish Government and Parliament considers how to utilise new devolved powers in relation to social security, the Commission draws attention to the need to embed human rights into any new laws, policies and practices. We recently provided detailed recommendations on these issues to the Scottish Government’s Consultation on A New Future for Social Security.