MPs and peers to probe UN disability charter opt-outs

Parliament’s joint committee on human rights is to report on the government’s decision to opt-out of elements of a United Nations disability rights charter.

Last week, to the anger of campaigners, disability minister Jonathan Shaw said the government would implement the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities with “reservations” in four areas.

These include exempting armed forces personnel from the charter and continuing to allow disabled children to be educated in out-of-area special schools. It is due to ratify the convention, bringing it into UK law, in the spring.

Equal rights

The convention obliges ratifying countries to provide equal rights to life, justice, property and education for disabled people, to combat prejudice, negative stereotypes and access barriers, and to support independent living.

The committee’s report will cover the four reservation areas and the various interpretative declarations made by the government, which outline its interpretation of aspects of the convention.

It is accepting submissions of no more than 1,500 words until 23 March and is planning to produce its report next month.

Email or contact the committee on 020 7219 2797.

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