I attended a conference about ‘The United Nations Convention on the Rights of People With Disabilities’. This convention came in to existence in June 2009, and it identifies the rights of disabled people more clearly rather than making new ones. There was a wide variety of people there ranging from professionals, disability charities to people with a general interest in disability issues.
It was really informative as I had heard about the UN convention for disabled people quite a lot, but by attending the conference I came to understand what it involved and how to access the information. The keynote speaker (Diane Mulligan OBE – UK elected member of the UN CRPD Committee 2013-2016) was very good as she gave a really comprehensive insight in to what being a member of the commission is like. She described how disability issues are quite different across a multitude of countries, and how she hopes to help those in the UK by educating people about the rights of all people.
There were interesting discussions about how the current cuts and reforms to the welfare system are going to affect people’s rights. This included talking about the bedroom tax and how it is going to affect disabled people who have to have live in carers. It was interesting to hear different peoples views on these cuts and effects. I found the afternoon workshops really useful as these were a chance to delve deeper in to the issues raised earlier in the day. We looked at how we could apply the discussions during the convention to every day life. For example, we discussed ways in which disabled people can get involved with the local community and influence what services are provided. The EHRC (Equality and Human Rights Commission -http://www.equalityhumanrights.com/) are keeping a very close eye on the situation regarding the cuts and will help people take cases forward if they feel it is appropriate.
There were a lot of networking opportunities so I would recommend his type of event to anyone with an interest in disability issues. It was a bit short on laughs although our table tried its best!