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‘It feels like they were listening. It injects hope that we are making a better Scotland and one that I feel comfortable living in’. Harley (27), GDA member.

Last Friday, GDA members and disabled people across the country responded with hope, pride and determination, as the Scottish Government unveiled landmark plans to incorporate the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) into Scottish law.

For more than 20 years, GDA and our disabled people led allies have worked tirelessly to drive forwards our vital human rights in Scotland – calling out the many barriers that stand in the way, highlighting changes and solutions we need to see, to achieve equality. Feeding in to the work of the Taskforce on Human Rights Leadership – hear some of our members’ hopes and aspirations for a new Human Rights Bill to embed All Our Rights In Law – so disabled people of all ages can enjoy the same security, dignity, and opportunities as our non-disabled peers and neighbours:

Our rights 25 years on

UNCRPD incorporation will protect many of the rights and freedoms non-disabled people can take for granted – but which are all too often out of reach for us as disabled people, including:

– the right to mobility (article 20)
– the right to a family life (art. 22)
– rights to work, education and healthcare (articles 27, 24, 25)
– the right to participation in public life (article 29).

A new Human Rights Bill is the lever we urgently need to reverse some of the worst regressions we have seen under austerity:

Embedding rights to an adequate standard of living and social protection (article 28) can only strengthen the focus on dignity, respect and rights based approaches being built in to our new Social Security System.

Securing rights to live independently and be included in the community (article 19) – embedded in the recent Feeley Review of Adult Social Care – will help propel us out of the Social Care Crisis, towards the shared vision of a system that sees social care as an investment in society, a springboard for equality, active citizenship, wellbeing and rights to choice and control.

Member holds a sign which says ‘Human Rights matter because…..(e.g.) we need information in the right format.
And to make these rights a reality, the unique and vital role of disabled people led organisations (outlined in CRPD general comment 7) will be key to empowering disabled people’s collective voice, to shape, drive and monitor progress towards our rights and equality.

COVID-19 has shown just how vital disabled people’s voices and lived experience are: to identify barriers and gaps, understand their consequences, and tackle inequality. The poverty, isolation, unemployment and health inequalities disabled people already faced have all been exacerbated by the pandemic, and responses which left disabled people behind. Even our most fundamental rights to life were threatened, by resource rationing and DNARs. Embedding CRPD article 11, the right to protection during humanitarian emergencies, will hinge on learning from and working with disabled people’s lived experience and expertise.

GDA’s Chief Executive, Tressa Burke, said:

“As a 5000-strong community of identity, GDA’s members are ready and eager to play their part and participate – with the supports required – to be an invaluable asset in our efforts to build a Fairer Scotland and lead the way in realising disabled people’s Human Rights.”

Member holds a sign which has oor wullie on it which says ‘Ma Rights, Your Rights, Awbody’s Rights!!’

GDA members said:

 “I’m really pleased that Scotland has chosen to be so progressive in its aim to embed human rights for all. Disabled people need and deserve to be fully included in society without the constant struggle for equality.”

“Disabled people’s rights have been among the worst affected by austerity, and then the COVID pandemic. As well as legislation, we need to see the accountability, enabling infrastructure and resources to make our rights a reality.”

Read more about COVID’s impact on disabled people in Glasgow, and how our disabled people led response prevented thousands from falling through gaps in our report ‘Supercharged: a Human Catastrophe’.

GDA members are calling on all political parties in Scotland to pledge support for incorporating the UNCRPD and All Our Rights into Scots Law. Read more in our 2021 Manifesto for Equality Now.

Help amplify disabled people’s voices by sharing this on social or forwarding to your MSP candidates! Thank you!

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