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Don’t Mention Human Rights

May 3, 2017

I felt very proud last week to be contacted by Liberty and asked if I would put my name to a campaign that puts pressure on all political parties to address Human Rights in their election manifestos. The HRA saved Steven back in 2010 and its importance to all of us, especially the disabled, cannot be downplayed.

The campaign began yesterday. It would be fantastic if every reader of this blog got behind it and added their name. The petition page is here:

https://www.change.org/p/all-party-leaders-promise-to-protect-our-human-rights-act-and-echr-membership-in-your-election-manifestos

It’s not a very good time to be human. It’s not a good time to mention our rights. Last week, I wrote a post about my disabled friend being banned from our local cafe. In a thread discussing the matter, someone mentioned her human rights. It prompted the reply, “What about my right to eat my meal without having my stomach turned by the eating habits of a spas?” It’s difficult to know where to begin, unpicking the anger and resentment in that statement. But it’s familiar. And popular. And so much of our political discourse is around the cultivation of malice.

It serves our political masters well not to define us as human. If we were defined as such, we might feel a connectedness and that cannot be encouraged. We’re now primarily defined as consumers and what model to upgrade our phone contract to is more likely to trouble us than 3000+ learning disabled people being detained in ATUs. For years, we have been pitted against each other by the framing of strivers Vs skivers; hard working families; the just about managing; the strong & the stable. We can become quite lost, trying to work out what category we fit into, what category we want to shoehorn our neighbour into and which category will make us feel better about ourselves. Trouble is, in bitter, resentful times I can only feel good about myself at the expense of others. I’m okay – you’re not okay. If I’m feeling so disenfranchised, why the bloody hell should you have any rights?

We don’t help ourselves. We can go from bragging to brooding on the turn of a sixpence. One minute my ego rules: the next I can be consumed with self pity. Yes, these are all aspects of being human but there’s also a lot more to being human that is now seen as old fashioned, even laughable.

The trouble that the HRA has always had is that it applies to all humans. It applies to hard working me and the neighbour on benefits with the flat screen TV. It applies to my disabled son and the guy in the cafe who was angry with his fellow disabled diner. It applies to Steven’s white English carer and his black Nigerian carer. The evidence is that we don’t like that. Some of us are more human than others. And for some of us, being human doesn’t even come into it. Can we accept that the HRA can help the Hillsborough families get justice AND help the Syrian refugee stay in the UK because of his Article 8 Rights?

I’m banging on. I’ll stop. I don’t often ask favours but if anyone feels it’s okay to be human, please sign the petition. If nothing else, it may prevent another Steven being taken 100s of miles from his home.

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8 Comments
  1. The main problem is HRA can’t/aren’t being enforced and MCA is not read, particularly in the local courts of protection where enforced in light of the HRA ie particularly s8 Right to Family Life.

    Separate HRA actions are expensive and largely unsuccessful with the risk of paying the huge costs of LA and NHS lawyers .

  2. Reblogged this on | truthaholics and commented:
    “The trouble that the HRA has always had is that it applies to all humans. It applies to hard working me and the neighbour on benefits with the flat screen TV. It applies to my disabled son and the guy in the cafe who was angry with his fellow disabled diner. It applies to Steven’s white English carer and his black Nigerian carer. The evidence is that we don’t like that. Some of us are more human than others. And for some of us, being human doesn’t even come into it. Can we accept that the HRA can help the Hillsborough families get justice AND help the Syrian refugee stay in the UK because of his Article 8 Rights?”

  3. weary mother permalink

    When my son was permanently damaged (and lived in misery) physically, emotionally and in other ways, out of neglects and incompetence – was blamed – and (he and I) refused a hearing by LA for 4 years, the solicitors I hired refused to consider the Human Rights Act. ‘Don’t go there’.they said.

    They agreed had the same happened to a member of staff or a non learning disabled member of community, this Act would have been considered relevant.

    It seems that solicitors are more than reluctant to access this act for people with learning disabilities and I am not sure why. ,

    The solicitors were also reluctant to challenge the LA legally on their neglects etc.

    Being currently excluded from Justice currently, makes it all the more important to protect this Act and to fight on for parity under the law(s), for people with learning disabilities.

  4. I think there’s an all-time low in ethics in this country, and solicitors as the only advocates is an all-time lack of choice.
    Mediators used to be available. Where are they?
    Other types of advocates for families are needed.

  5. weary mother permalink

    I agree.

    What I ave found and am still finding, is that, my son’s LA can just ignore communications on even serious issues. The family left to fix things in a silent vacuum.

    LA seems aware that the ‘tire them out’ till ‘they’ (family) drop/give up, works. are forced to access the Ombudsman the family will find they too will drag out their process beyond endurance.

    When very serious issues are found by Ombudsman, reluctantly admitted by LA they, they will only get wee tap on the wrist as the penalty. And so nothing improves, for all is cost effective.

    It is a cheap management process that kills the soul and health of mother and/or father.

    Also, the quality and competence of the remaining Public Health solicitors can vary. Many have closed down in practice because of the massive reduction in eligibility/access to legal aid.

    All this compounds in removing equality, and a human right to justice from our powerless, sons and daughters.

    Who, without us mums and dads fighting on till we drop, ..just to ensure some respectful and safe care ..

    ………………..can have no rights at all.

  6. shirley buckley permalink

    Martin,through his legal aid barrister, is challenging his DOLS and ” Other issues of the case
    Section 7RA claim for damages – potentially unauthorised periods of deprivation of liberty” First hearing last Tuesday. Again, watch this space

  7. simone aspis permalink

    It seems that there is a real vested interest for LAs to do nought – as long as there is a mental health system where all LAs have to do is wait until the disabled person needs to be sectioned – no need to do anything thereafter provide housing, social care etc…… It’s becoming increasingly scary that the only way that many disabled people with LDs and Autism will get a bed, three square meals a day, warmth etc, some kind of care of a variety nature is when they are sectioned – this is no longer about disabled adults but now increasingly its disabled children and young people. It’s because when a disabled person is sectioned the STATE are REQUIRED to provide. In all other areas the LAs do not under a duty to provide – Our recent calls, the Lenehen review are all pointing to this trend. Makes me so angry and impact such institutions have upon disabled people. Disabled People had a Free Our People campaign – this focused on disabled people living in oppressive institutions of all sorts…

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