SCLD has invited a range of stakeholders and partners to share their thoughts on our recent state-of-the-nation report on the human rights of people with learning disabilities, The State of Our Rights. Each week we have been sharing these meditations in a blog series. This week it’s the turn of Lucy Mulvagh, Director at the Health and Social Care Alliance for Scotland (the ALLIANCE) with her view that now is the time to take action in the realisation of the human rights of people with learning disabilities…
“I’m Lucy Mulvagh, and I work as a Director at the Health and Social Care Alliance Scotland (the ALLIANCE), which is the national third sector intermediary for health and care in Scotland with around 3,400 members.
This most recent – and excellent – report from SCLD, about the human rights issues facing people with learning disabilities in Scotland is distressing to read. It shares horrific examples of gender-based violence, failures to protect the right to life during COVID-19, ongoing institutionalisation, hate crime, and chemical restraint. As well as these most egregious examples, the report provides details about regular infringements of people’s everyday rights in education, work, social care and independent living.
Sadly most – if not all – of the issues raised in The State of our Rights are not new, and have been going on for years.
Sadly most – if not all – of the issues raised in The State of our Rights are not new, and have been going on for years. I suggested that the title of this blog be ‘The time for action is NOW!’ Instead, I should have suggested ‘The time for action is LONG OVERDUE!’
People’s experiences shared within the report are, frankly, unacceptable in a modern Scottish society that prides itself on being inclusive, welcoming and fair.
I think there are two things on the horizon that could drastically help – as long as they are done well and properly resourced. One is SNAP 2 – Scotland’s second National Human Rights Action Plan, and the other is the proposed Scottish Human Rights Bill.
I support SCLD’s brilliant Route Map for Change, which includes a very strong message that the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) should be fully incorporated through the Scottish Human Rights Bill. My organisation, the ALLIANCE, is also calling for this.
One of the stated aims of the Bill is to “deliver stronger public services and improve the lives of those who are most marginalised and disadvantaged in our society.” The State of our Rights demonstrates that people with learning disabilities continue to be amongst the most excluded and discriminated against groups in Scottish society. The UNCRPD is of fundamental importance – it contains tangible, substantive rights that are within the competence of Scottish Parliament and need to be realised in full.”
Director, Health and Social Care Alliance Scotland (the ALLIANCE)