Restraint related to disability must be eradicated, says UN body

The United Nations Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities has issued its concluding observations following its first review of the UK.

The 17-page report documents major breaches in the UK’s compliance with the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which we ratified in June 2009. The international treaty sets out the rights of disabled children and adults, which are complementary and additional to other treaties such as the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and the European Convention on Human Rights.

Several major areas of concern relate to the rights of disabled children and young people living in institutional settings, with the UN Committee urging:

  • Support to parents so that disabled children can enjoy their right to family life, and to reduce the numbers of children living away from home. Connected to this, the UK is urged to tackle the disproportionate levels of poverty among families with disabled children
  • A comprehensive strategy on inclusive education, in line with the human rights model of disability
  • Action to combat prejudice and discrimination disabled children endure through bullying and hate crime
  • The end of restraint related to disability and segregation and isolation in all settings
  • Action to prevent the use of restraint on disabled children and young people
  • Financial support to organisations run by and for disabled children to, among other things, enable them to actively monitor the implementation of the human rights treaty.

Carolyne Willow, Article 39’s Director, said:

“The UN body on disability rights has issued a devastating critique of the myriad of ways in which disabled children and young people are held back, excluded and punished. We know, for example, that children who have learning disabilities and difficulties disproportionately end up in prison where physical restraint and segregation are typically the automatic response for dealing with their profound distress and anxiety. With the UK due to submit a report within 12 months on the steps it has taken to implement the UN body’s recommendations, the Government must act quickly to remedy these grave human rights violations.”  

Download the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities’ concluding observations here.