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Pair with learning disabilities give evidence to the UN on disability rights
Pair with learning disabilities give evidence to the UN on disability rights

Hft Press Releases

Pair with learning disabilities give evidence to the UN on disability rights

Published: 21/08/17

Two people with learning disabilities have travelled to Geneva to share their personal experiences of the effects of austerity cuts for a UN hearing.

Henry and Becky, who are supported by the national learning disability charity, Hft, are attending the 18th session of the UN committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). 

The three-day hearing began on Monday 21 August and invited disabled people to share their personal experiences to help inform the committee’s investigation as to how the UK Government’s austerity policies have impacted on people with disabilities. 

Henry and Becky acted as spokespeople for Hft’s Speak Out Group, Voices to Be Heard, which represents the views of the people supported by the charity. Each addressed the eighteen members of the Committee of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, warning that increased pressures on social care funding are impacting on the opportunity for people with disabilities to live the life they choose.

Hft believes this violates Article 19 of the CRPD, which guarantees the rights of people with disabilities to live independently and be included in the community.

Henry said, “I am very proud that I could speak at the United Nations today to help ensure that the voices of people with learning disabilities could be heard.”

Henry and Becky were supported with their submissions and attendance at the event by staff from Hft. The charity, which supports people with learning disabilities to live the best life possible, has taken an active role in highlighting the detrimental effect that austerity measures are having on the sector’s ability to provide services to vulnerable adults.

Since February last year, Hft has been aiming to raise awareness of the funding pressures faced by social care providers following the introduction of the National Living Wage in April 2016, through its It Doesn’t Add Up campaign.  Data from the campaign was then used to respond to calls for information from the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) on service provisions for persons with disabilities.

Billy Davis, Hft’s Policy and Public Affairs Manager, who supported Henry and Becky on the day, has also represented the charity at several international workshops to feed into discussions on the issue.

He said: “Hft is committed to creating opportunities for the people we support to speak out on the issues that matter to them.  This was a fantastic opportunity for the people we support to have their voices heard at the highest level and play a vital role in driving positive change against the austerity measures that have disproportionately affected people with learning disabilities.” 

The final conclusion from the committee will be published in November 2017.

To find out more about Hft please visit www.hft.org.uk

Hft team in Geneva

Notes to editors

For further information please contact: Suzanne Fry, PR & Media Manager, on 0117 906 1755 or suzanne.fry@hft.org.uk. For media enquiries outside of office hours please call 0117 906 1697

About Hft

Hft is a national charity supporting more than 2,500 adults with learning disabilities across England to live the best life possible. Established in 1962, the charity uses its own unique Fusion Model to consistently deliver high quality, person-centered support across all its services. 

Services range from supported living to residential care – from a few hours a week to 24 hours a day. Hft also helps people with learning disabilities to take part in daily activities, make friends and develop relationships and to find work.

For more information about Hft please visit www.hft.org.uk

Information about learning disabilities

A learning disability can be mild, moderate, severe or profound and is defined as having a reduced ability to:

  • Understand new or complex information
  • Learn new skills
  • Live independently

For further information please contact: Suzanne Fry, PR & Media Manager, on 0117 906 1755 or suzanne.fry@hft.org.uk. For media enquiries outside of office hours please call 0117 906 1697

About Hft

Hft is a national charity supporting more than 2,500 adults with learning disabilities across England to live the best life possible. Established in 1962, the charity uses its own unique Fusion Model to consistently deliver high quality, person-centered support across all its services. 

Services range from supported living to residential care – from a few hours a week to 24 hours a day. Hft also helps people with learning disabilities to take part in daily activities, make friends and develop relationships and to find work.

For more information about Hft please visit www.hft.org.uk

Information about learning disabilities

A learning disability can be mild, moderate, severe or profound and is defined as having a reduced ability to:

  • Understand new or complex information
  • Learn new skills
  • Live independently

Subject: Services
Location: National