Creating a fairer Britain
Title of guidance:
Year published: 2010
Length: 60 pages
Format: PDF, Word, British Sign Language, Welsh language and Easy Read
Other formats: Contact the EHRC helpline for alternative formats: www.equalityhumanrights.com/about-us/advice-from-our-helpline/
Producer/ Publisher: Equality and Human Rights Commission
Type of organisation: Human rights commission in the UK
Generic (cross-sector) | Human Rights Act | Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities | GB wide| Case studies
Audience: Service management | Front-line service personnel | Policy managers and directors
Topics: Human rights | equality | home care | disability | blanket policies / individual assessment | involvement and participation | dignity | autonomy | mental capacity | privacy | torture/inhuman or degrading treatment | residential care | voluntary / third sector | private sector | sexuality / intimacy | personal relationships | education and learning | employment / workplace | independent living
This is a guide to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities. The guide explains what the Convention is, including a brief overview of its history. It considers why the Convention is important for people with disabilities and outlines the obligations the Convention places on government. It explains how the Convention works in relation to the UK’s Human Rights Act (HRA) and duties under anti-discrimination legislation. It sets out the key rights contained in the Convention, noting both what the Convention says and what it means. It uses hypothetical case studies to highlight the meaning and relevance of specific rights. The document provides guidance on monitoring and implementing the Convention and on how to make a complaint about a violation of the Convention. It is aimed at disabled people and disabled people’s organisations in England, Wales and Scotland.
The guide is divided into four sections:
The guide begins by explaining that the Convention is an international agreement about protecting and promoting the human rights of disabled people throughout the world. It defines human rights as basic rights and freedoms that everyone is entitled to, regardless of who they are. These rights are found in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities does not give disabled people ‘new’ human rights – it was developed because action was needed to ensure rights were a reality for those with disabilities. The UK ratified the Convention in 2009.
The guide outlines eight reasons why the Convention is important for disabled people in Britain:
The guide explains whose rights are recognised by the Convention – elaborating the meaning of a ‘person with a disability’.
In clear bullet points the guide enumerates the obligations that the Convention places on governments that have ratified it – including the UK. These include obligations to:
The guide explains the concept of ‘progressive realisation’ contained in the Convention – noting that even if governments cannot make rights real immediately they must do everything in their power and use all available resources to make sure rights are enjoyed as quickly as possible.
The guide explains how the Convention relates to UK law. Individuals who believe their rights under the Convention have been breached cannot take such a claim, as such, to the courts. However the Convention can be used as an interpretive tool to support cases that are taken to court under the HRA or disability discrimination legislation.
This introduction to the Convention includes an outline of the role of various bodies in contributing to the implementation of the Convention. It looks at the role of:
This is a useful and detailed section that provides an elaboration of the content of the Convention. It starts by outlining key principles that the government should adopt:
The section then outlines the meaning of Articles 5-30 of the Convention. These articles cover:
For each right the guide notes what the Convention says and what the wording means in practice. This includes, variously:
This section includes numerous case studies to illustrate these rights and how they apply in a variety of common situations.
The Guide provides advice on getting involved in making the rights contained in the Convention real. It looks at:
The guide includes a number of practical suggestions about awareness raising and campaigning. It includes some real life examples of successful activities, including the production of a play on the right to marry and a campaign to make the proposed new right to free personal care in England ‘portable’ when individuals move from one local authority to another.
The guide explains the process of reporting on the Convention, whereby states must submit reports to the UN Disability Committee. It elaborates the process of ‘shadow’ reporting which allows national human rights commissions and voluntary organisations to submit reports to the committee. It includes practical suggestions of how both individuals and groups can get involved and a detailed step-by-step guide to writing a shadow report.
The report also includes a step-by-step guide to making a complaint about a violation of the Convention. This covers the taking of a legal case in the UK (which cannot be directly under the Convention but must use laws such as the HRA or anti-discrimination legislation). The guide also provides details on how complaints may be taken to the UN Disability Committee. It includes case studies and ways in which the ECHR can help.
The final section of the report is a directory of sources of further information. This covers general information on the Convention, UK and regional sources of information and sources of legal advice.
The Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities recognises that disabled people have the same rights as everyone else. This includes generic rights to freedom, respect, equality and dignity and a whole host of specific rights. Government has obligations to ensure equal respect of and access to these rights for disabled people. In particular, Article 5 of the Convention makes clear that:
We hope that you found the resource helpful and easy to use. Please let us know about other guidance or references that you think we should include. Send us your feedback.