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Bringing Disability Rights Home

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Bringing Disability Rights Home

30th January 2018 -

The Vice Chairperson of the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities will speak at a conference in Stormont on Tuesday 30 January 2018, to highlight United Nations concerns about the levels of protection offered to people with disabilities in Northern Ireland including social welfare protections and gaps in equality law protections.

Coomaravel Pyaneandee will address the conference entitled, “Bringing Disability Rights Home: Realising the UNCRPD in Northern Ireland”, in Stormont’s Long Gallery.

The Conference - organised by the Equality Commission and the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission – is discussing the Committee’s Concluding Observations about the UK’s compliance with the Convention. It will also hear from speakers from both Commissions, the Department for Communities, Disability Action, disabled people led organisations, and the QUB Disability Research Network.

The UN Committee on the Rights of Disabilities has identified key gaps in the implementation of the UN Convention of Rights for Disabled People in Northern Ireland. It highlights a lack of initiatives to address the inclusion of people with disabilities and issues around their living conditions. It also expresses concerns about the transition from Disability Living Allowance to Personal Independence Payment, and the unjustified sanctioning of people with disabilities.

“It is of great concern that the UK Government has indicated it will not be taking any action to address the findings and recommendations of this UN report”, Dr Michael Wardlow, Chief Commissioner of the Equality Commission said. “That is very troubling for everyone concerned by the disadvantage and very real hardship which the changes in welfare arrangements are already causing to a vulnerable and hard-pressed section of our community”.

“We must press the government to take action on foot of the UN Committee’s recommendations. Many of the issues it has raised echo matters that we and the other equality and human rights bodies across the UK have been calling for action on. It is imperative that we all work together to press Government to implement the recommendations”, concluded Dr Wardlow.

Les Allamby, Chief Commissioner of the NI Human Rights Commission stated:

“The UK Government has sought to encourage persons with disabilities into work. However, the Committee raised concerns that this is not being realised in practice. The employment rate for people with disabilities in Northern Ireland is way behind comparative rates for people without disabilities in the UK. In addition, the employment rate for people with disabilities also compares very badly with the employment rate for people without disabilities. This is a double whammy in Northern Ireland.

“The Committee further identified that persons with disabilities are experiencing significant hardship - including financial, material and psychological - when undergoing social security assessments. The Independent Mechanism will be meeting with the Minister for Disabilities to
discuss the Committee’s report and implementation of their recommendations.”


For further information please contact Kelly McGinley,
Communications Officer, 028 9089 0862 or email kmcginley@equalityni.org

Note to Editor

The concluding observations (pdf) by the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with a Disability which identified key gaps in the implementation of Convention rights in Northern Ireland.

Conference Programme

Venue: The Long Gallery, Parliament Buildings, Stormont, Belfast

10.30am Welcome & Introduction

Kellie Armstrong MLA, Alliance Party

William Gamble, Northern Ireland Equality Commission

10.35am Opening Statement

John McCallister, Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission, Event Chair

10.40am The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

Coomaravel Pyaneandee - Vice-Chair UNCRPD Committee

11.00am The Programme for Government: Persons with Disabilities and Human Rights

Bernie Rooney, Director of Social Inclusion Policy Division, Department for Communities, on behalf of the NI Executive

11.20am Implementing the Convention: Questions from the floor

Coomaravel Pyaneandee - Vice-Chair UNCRPD Committee

Bernie Rooney, Department for Communities

11.40pm Break

12.00pm Independent Mechanism NI: Monitoring the Convention

William Gamble, Northern Ireland Equality Commissioner

John McCallister, Northern Ireland Human Rights Commissioner

12.20pm Disability Sector Alternative Report

Karen Hall, Disability Action, Assistant Director External Relations & Policy

Patrick Malone, Disability Action, Public Affairs & Engagement Officer

12.40pm Lunch

13.10pm An Academic perspective

Dr Bronagh Byrne, Co-Chair, QUB Disability Research Network

13.30pm Disabled People Led Organisation Perspectives

Tony O’Reilly, North West Forum of People with Disabilities

David McDonald, Chair of The Omnibus Partnership

13.50 pm Summary of UNCRPD Committee’s Concluding Observations

Coomaravel Pyaneandee, Vice-Chair UNCRPD Committee

14.20pm Q & A Panel and Plenary

Panel Chair: William Gamble, Northern Ireland Equality Commissioner

Panel: David McDonald (Omnibus Partnership); Tony O’Reilly (NWFPD); Bronagh Byrne (QUB); Colin Caughey (NIHRC);Paul Noonan (ECNI); Karen Hall (Disability Action); Coomaravel Pyaneandee (UNCRPD).

15:00pm Close

30 Jan 2018

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