Monday, 17 December 2012

Disability rights: the UK pariah state

December 3 was the United Nations International Day for Persons with Disabilities. It was also the day on which the government of the United Kingdom's Department of Work and Pensions began forcing disabled people into forced, unpaid labour for their benefits.

Those with severe disabilities and chronically illnesses placed onto Employment Support Allowance, such as such as cerebral palsy sufferer Wayne Blackburn, are being told that they must partake in a 'mandatory work activity', or else their benefit will be sanctioned by 70% and reduced to £28.15 a week; they are being blackmailed with total destitution. Destitution that will undoubtedly affect thousands of infirm people who cannot engage in the forced labour demanded of them given their conditions. All of this is justifiedsuch as by Iain Duncan Smith in response to Owen Jones's remarks, on the deaths of severely disabled people who perished after being deemed 'fit to work' by farcical Atos 'Work Capability Assessments'by an extremely twisted notion of compassion. As much as can be derived from the slogan Arbeit Macht Frei.

It ought to pointed out that Article 27 paragraph 2  of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, covering rights of employment, which the UK is a ratified signatory to, reads the following: 

States Parties shall ensure that persons with disabilities are not held in slavery or in servitude, and are protected, on an equal basis with others, from forced or compulsory labour.

The UK government's mandatory work activities for disabled persons, coerced into them through financial blackmail, can undoubtedly be described as such. It chose to commemorate the United Nations day commemorating the rights of disabled people by violating United Nations international law protecting them. Not only should it be held accountable for engaging in this sick irony, but should reprehended on a formal, legal basis.

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