Month: July 2019

Disabled people could be at risk of violence and

first_imgDisabled people could be at risk of violence, and even “killings and euthanasia”, because of their portrayal by the UK government and media as “parasites” who live on benefits, according to unpublished comments by the chair of a UN committee.Theresia Degener, who chairs the UN committee on the rights of persons with disabilities, warns in the interview that such portrayals of disabled people are “very, very dangerous”.Her comments are even more critical and highly-charged than those she and her committee colleagues made during last month’s two-day public examination in Geneva of the UK’s progress on implementing the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.Degener herself had told the UK government’s delegation that its cuts to social security and other support for disabled people had caused “a human catastrophe”, comments that were repeated by Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn in yesterday’s prime minister’s questions (see separate story).But her comments in the interview with a BBC journalist – which are believed to have not been broadcast – go even further.Degener (pictured) says that cuts to social security have been so severe that they have become “life threatening to many disabled people”, and she then talks about the impact of the austerity cuts on public attitudes to disabled people.She says in the interview that “disabled people being portrayed as parasites, living on social benefits, and welfare and the taxes of other people” was “very, very dangerous”.She says that such attitudes “will later on lead to violence against disabled people, we know it, if not to killings and euthanasia”.She stressed later to Disability News Service (DNS) that she was not comparing the situation in the UK to the propaganda used in Nazi Germany, where disabled people were often referred to by the state as “useless eaters” who led “burdensome lives” as a justification for the killing of as many as 275,000 disabled people by doctors.She told DNS: “I did not draw a comparison with Nazi Germany in the 1930s/40s because the current UK situation is in no way comparable to Nazi Germany.“I meant to alert more generally to the danger of dividing disabled people from the general population by ‘othering’ them as ‘parasites’.“There have been killings (disguised as mercy killings) based on such irrational thinking.”She says in the BBC interview: “I am not saying that [this violence] is happening right now in the UK, but this is why governments have to stop this kind of attitude.”Degener, who herself is German and a professor of law and disability studies, says that “although we would never as a human rights treaty body favour censorship, we think that media and the government have some responsibility in this regard”.Her comments follow concerns raised in the committee’s report about “the persisting occurring incidents of negative attitudes, stereotypes and prejudice against persons with disabilities… as well as concerning their social protection entitlements”.Her colleague Coomaravel Pyaneandee, a vice-chair of the committee, had said during the public examination that disabled people in the UK were “most concerned” about negative attitudes towards disabled people on benefits which were “fuelled” by the media and “government representatives”.Disabled activists and opposition politicians have repeatedly raised concerns that ministers or civil servants have briefed newspapers in a way that encourages them to report inaccurate and misleading articles, with headlines such as “75 per cent of incapacity claimants are fit to work” and “Disabled benefit? Just fill in a form”.In 2012, a report by Disability Rights UK found that disabled people increasingly believed that coverage of welfare reform and other disability issues in national newspapers was helping to fuel hate crime, with many of the respondents blaming rising hostility towards them on “government spin and distortion” and “rhetoric from the government about scroungers and benefit cheats”.The previous year, a letter from the Disability Benefits Consortium to Maria Miller, then the minister for disabled people, accused the government of causing disabled people “significant alarm” by releasing information about disability living allowance (DLA) that led to “misleading” media coverage.The letter warned her of the government’s obligations under the Equality Act not to “generate stigma, persecution or harassment of disabled people requiring support from the welfare system”.Degener also says in the BBC interview that, compared to other countries with “less economic power” and less advanced equality and discrimination legislation, the UK’s austerity policy was “less human rights oriented”, so that “UK appears to be a strong country when it comes to equal rights but a very, very weak country with relation to economic, social and culture rights”.She says the UK’s record on disability rights “is going backwards in a pace and to an amount that it worries us a lot” and that the evidence in front of the committee was “overwhelming”.Degener was not available this week to expand on her remarks, but she has given permission for them to be used by DNS.She made the comments in an interview recorded for BBC News on 31 August, following the publication of the committee’s “concluding observation” on the UK.The comments were recorded by the UN because the interview took place at the end of a press conference.BBC News has given DNS permission to quote from the interview, which appears to have been intended for its News at Ten programme but was not broadcast.A DWP spokeswoman did not respond directly to Degener’s comments, but repeated the government’s previous response to the committee’s concluding observations.She said: “We’re disappointed that this report does not accurately reflect the evidence we gave to the UN, and fails to recognise all the progress we’ve made to empower disabled people in all aspects of their lives.“We spend over £50 billion a year to support disabled people and those with health conditions – more than ever before, and the second highest in the G7*.“We’re committed to furthering rights and opportunities for all disabled people, which is why it is encouraging that almost 600,000 disabled people have moved into work in the UK over the last four years.“We’re also a recognised world leader in disability rights and equality, which is why we supported the development of the UN convention.”She said the UK has “some of the strongest equalities legislation in the world, including the Equality Act 2010, and we will continue to make sure that these rights are protected”.She added: “This government believes that a disability or health condition should not dictate the path a person is able to take in life – or in the workplace.“This forms the foundation of our reforms to help disabled people realise their potential in the labour market and wider society.”She also directed DNS to the concluding remarks of Karen Jochelson, who heads the Office for Disability Issues and led the UK delegation at the public examination in Geneva, and which can be watched here from 3:04:41.*The other G7 countries are the USA, Japan, France, Germany, Italy and Canadalast_img read more

Sign up to LabourLists morning email for everythi

first_imgSign up to LabourList’s morning email for everything Labour, every weekday morning.Another exhausting day for anyone tasked with following Brexit closely. Yvette Cooper’s bill, which aims to make sure Theresa May sticks to her word and requests an extension from the EU, avoiding no deal on 12th April, was passed by the Commons in the most dramatic way. First, an amendment tabled by Hilary Benn that would have made way for a third session of indicative votes on Monday did not get approval – the vote was a tie. Yes, MPs were deadlocked on whether to try to break the Brexit deadlock. Speaker Bercow, citing precedent, cast his vote with the government, so there will be no more indicative votes for now.Then the motion on whether to go ahead with the Cooper bill passed by just one vote, with Gareth Snell switching to vote in favour. Over the next six hours, the short Cooper bill had a very tricky passage through the Commons. It was approved by five votes at the second reading, before being attacked by Tory Brexiteers who endeavoured to block the possibility of a long extension beyond European elections. (As Labour peer Stewart Wood tweeted, the extension could be the new backstop, with rows over time limits and being able to exit unilaterally.) Finally, nearing midnight, the whole bill scraped through by just one vote. The House of Lords is expected to give its approval today.During all of that drama in the chamber, talks between party leaders were held. The most important saw the Prime Minister and Jeremy Corbyn meet, described as a “constructive” exercise by both afterwards. But how constructive? It is difficult to tell. Two ministers resigned over May’s apparent shift towards a softer Brexit (with others waiting to see what comes out of it), so it’s easy to see why cards might be kept close to chests there. Plus, according to ex-Tory MP Nick Boles, her comms head is “a hard Brexiteer who wants to destroy the PM’s new search for a cross party compromise”. On the Labour side, the leader’s office seemed to downplay progress in their message to MPs. Some suspected this could be a ploy to avoid calls for an emergency PLP meeting. After all, new negotiating teams were formed, a planning meeting was held last night and technical discussions are to be had throughout today. It can’t have been a total failure.Reports on the negotiations this morning often conclude that it may be difficult for Corbyn and May to resolve their differences over Brexit. But the truth is that, with May now willing to allow a closer UK-EU future relationship, the party leaders aren’t all that far apart from each other. The clashes are really between them on one side and their respective party grassroots and MPs on the other. For Labour, the question is whether any deal – or only a Tory deal – should be put to a public vote. The shadow cabinet and parliamentary party are deeply split. There is a huge amount of pressure on Corbyn to make a referendum a condition of supporting any deal. He has resisted so far, but that could change. Either way, frontbench resignations are a risk.It’s the Newport West by-election today. Very best of luck to candidate Ruth Jones, who is fighting off lots of opponents to keep the late Paul Flynn’s former seat red.Sign up to LabourList’s morning email for everything Labour, every weekday morning.Tags:Yvette Cooper /Labour /Jeremy Corbyn /Brexit /Public vote /Article 50 extension /Cooper Bill /last_img read more

ST HELENS fullback Paul Wellens will miss the Goo

first_imgST HELENS full-back Paul Wellens will miss the Good Friday derby against Wigan Warriors after failing in his appeal against the one-match ban imposed by the RFL Disciplinary Committee for a Grade B dangerous throw on Lee Briers of Warrington Wolves in a Stobart Super League fixture last week.Wellens submitted a letter of reference from Lee Briers in his appeal, which was heard this afternoon, but the panel ruled that Wellens was responsible for putting his opponent in a dangerous position in the seventh-minute tackle.last_img read more

LANGTREE Park will host the Tetleys Challenge Cup

first_imgLANGTREE Park will host the Tetley’s Challenge Cup Semi Final clash between Leeds Rhinos v Warrington Wolves on August 9 (2.30pm).The 17,980-venue will host its third major event after the England v Exiles clash in 2012 and Australia v Fiji in 2013.Leigh Sports Village will host the tie between Widnes Vikings v Castleford Tigers at day later.Saints Chairman Eamonn McManus said: “We are delighted that Langtree Park has been selected to hold its first Challenge Cup Semi Final game. We believe it is now the best and highest quality venue in rugby league and it is fulfilling that the RFL has accorded it due recognition.”RFL Marketing Director Mark Foster said: “We are anticipating huge demand for tickets for what will be two compelling Tetley’s Challenge Cup ties and our advice to fans is to purchase their tickets early to avoid disappointment.“Langtree Park and Leigh Sports Village are perfect venues for the semi-finals and will provide terrific backdrops to some high drama as the four clubs showcase the sport to a national television audience.“In selecting the venues, we have looked at similar criteria as we did when choosing where to place games for the Rugby League World Cup: one of the big considerations was venues that give us every chance of selling out and creating the very best atmosphere to reflect the stature of Tetley’s Challenge Cup semi-finals.”Tickets for the 2014 Tetley’s Challenge Cup semi-finals go on sale at all four clubs, and from the Rugby League Ticket Hotline – 0844 856 1113 or www.rugbyleaguetickets.co.uk – from 9.00am on Monday June 16.We will have hospitality details shortly.last_img read more

WE will be readySaints are just 80 minutes away

first_img“WE will be ready!”Saints are just 80 minutes away from the Grand Final with Warrington Wolves standing between them and a date at Old Trafford.Keiron Cunningham’s side head to the Halliwell Jones Stadium for the third time this year on Thursday, but this time the stakes couldn’t be higher.“The place will be rocking and we will be ready for the game,” he said. “They have been in good form; probably the form side of this period of the comp but we will go there and have a good crack at it.“We know what people have been saying about us and that we are classed as a potential slip up. That suits us.“We know we have to go there and do a good job against a Warrington side who missing some key players went and did a superb job at Hull.“It would have been nice to go through the Super 8s system unbeaten but we finished strongly. We had a patched up side at the weekend and got there in the end. I thought Theo (Fages) did a good job as did Olly Davies. He hasn’t had a lot of game time in Super League and played a bit at 9, up front and in the back row.“We are relatively fit and we let James Roby put his feet up last week as we want to use him to his fullest towards the end of the season.”In the build up to Thursday’s clash, Super League’s Dream Team was announced for 2016 – with Hull providing six members and Thursday’s opponents four.Cunningham said whilst it was understandable that no Saints were named some of his side would be disappointed.“It is a true reflection of how the year has gone and I think it is good for the game as a whole that Hull dominate it,” he explained. “They deserve that for what they have achieved this season.“If we had been a touch better in the middle part of the year then I’m sure there would have been some Saints in there too.“There will be a few players disappointed but when you match them up to a Hull side that won the Cup and finished near the top then you understand their selection.”Tickets for Thursday’s game are close to selling out. Saints have around 300 remaining at the time of writing.You can buy them from the Ticket Office at Langtree Park, by calling 01744 455 052 or online here. Please note tickets bought online or over the phone are now for collection only.last_img read more