A COALITION of major disability charities in Scotland have called on MSPs to investigate human rights abuses resulting from welfare reform.
The 12 include the Health and Social Care Alliance, Sense Scotland, Inclusion Scotland, the Stroke Association and the Glasgow Disability Alliance (GDA).
In a letter to the Scottish Parliament’s welfare reform committee the coalition said it was gravely concerned that both the process and impact of welfare reform was violating specific human rights “as set out in the various human rights treaties the UK is party to and of course that the Scottish Government is obligated to respect.”
The letter identifies human rights abuses of disabled people that welfare reform was causing under the European Convention on Human Rights including the right to die, prohibition from torture and inhuman or degrading treatment, a right to a fair hearing and a right to an effective remedy.
Tressa Burke, chief executive of GDA, which has a membership of over 1,700 disabled people, said: “Disabled people are facing complete destitution as a result of welfare reform. It is of grave concern to GDA that there are now at least four suicides a week in Glasgow.
“This is intolerable in a still wealthy and supposedly civilised society and action must be taken now to support the people most affected.”
Carole Ewart, chair of the Human Rights Consortium Scotland, said an important reform like welfare, which impacts on the lives of so many people, should be subject to a rigorous independent assessment so that the results don’t infringe human rights.
Others who have signed the letter are the British Deaf Association, Glasgow Centre for Inclusive Living, Neighbourhood Networks, the Independent Living in Scotland Project, Self Directed Support Scotland, the Scottish Disability Equality Forum and Momentum Skills.