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Disabled Rights Delay

January 17, 2009 10:47 AM
Peter Coley

Peter Coley "It's vitally important that this government takes the rights of the disabled seriously..."

The Labour government has been criticised for failing to bring new rights for disabled people into law.

Labour Ministers were supposed to have ratified the UN Convention on the rights of people with disabilities by the end of 2008. The BBC reported that a committee of both Houses of Parliament said this was "extremely disappointing" and risked "alienating" disabled people.

The legislation aimed to guarantee equal treatment for disabled people in education, employment and every other aspect of life.

The disability rights charity Scope, have publically said the government had dragged its feet on this "hugely important" treaty.

Peter Coley, The Liberal Democrat PPC for Leicester West said, "It's vitally important that this government takes the rights of the disabled seriously and ratifying this convention would send a clear signal of intent that this country treats disabled people equally and with dignity. It is very disappointing therefore, that Gordon Brown's Government have delayed the process, apparently discussing opt-outs behind closed doors rather than widely engaging with the groups affected.

There has been criticism that the Government are trying to introduce opt-outs to make the convention fit in with their existing policies rather than adapt their policies to embrace the convention. This is a concern to many.

I sincerely hope that ministers will ratify this convention shortly but will carry out meaningful consultation with disability groups beforehand. They should only consider any opt-outs if they are for the benefit of those with disabilities."