Norfolk disability group Equal Lives praises UN report slamming government record on rights

Mark Harrison, CEO Equal Lives, with other protesters outside the Atos assessment centre at St Mary'

Mark Harrison, CEO Equal Lives, with other protesters outside the Atos assessment centre at St Mary's House. Picture: Denise Bradley - Credit: copyright: Archant 2014

A United Nations report slamming the government's record on rights for people with disabilities has been welcomed by a Norfolk charity.

Mark Harrison, chief executive of disability charity Equal Lives. Photo: Steve Adams

Mark Harrison, chief executive of disability charity Equal Lives. Photo: Steve Adams - Credit: Steve Adams

Equal Lives, which is based in Framingham Pigot, has praised the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities following a first-of-its-kind inquiry into the UK's record on the Conventions of the Rights of Disabled People, which was ratified in 2011.

Mark Harrison, chief executive of Equal Lives, said the UN report sent a clear message that the government needed to lift its game on disabled rights.

Mr Harrison said: 'When the chair of the disability committee described the situation that disabled people face as a 'human catastrophe' she was reflecting what Norfolk's disability community has been experiencing over the last seven years.

'In a very short space of time we have gone from having some of the best rights in the world to a crisis situation where people are dying because of the barriers and discrimination caused by austerity.


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'Equal Lives is here to support disabled people of all ages to live as equal and active citizens.

'We will continue to speak out and campaign for equality and justice until the government recognises its responsibilities and changes course'.

MORE: Norfolk disability campaign group to lay out government criticisms at United Nations meetingThe UN's findings follow a meeting in Geneva attended by representatives from Equal Lives and other disability organisations from across the country.

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A spokesman from the UK's Delegation of Deaf and Disabled People's Organisations said: 'Today the UN (CRPD) Committee has, once again, condemned the UK Government's record on deaf and disabled people's human rights.

'They have validated the desperation, frustration and outrage experienced by deaf and disabled people since austerity and welfare cuts began.

'It is no longer acceptable for the UK government to ignore the strong and united message of the disability community.'

A government spokesperson said: 'The UK is a recognised world leader in disability rights and equality, which is why we supported the development of the UN convention. Almost 600,000 disabled people have moved into work over the last four years and we spend over £50bn a year to support disabled people and those with health conditions.'

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