From Kittysjones’ blog: Amnesty International has Condemned the Erosion of Human Rights of Disabled People in the UK

Kittysjones has another, very interesting piece reporting Amnesty International’s attack on the government’s assault on disabled people’s human rights. It begins

Dr Simon Duffy recently wrote an outstanding briefing: How the cuts target disabled people which shows very clearly how the poorest and most vulnerable are paying for an economic problem that they did not cause.

Austerity has never had any moral legitimacy, or indeed any other kind of validity. Osborne’s careful selection of “leading economists” to endorse his damaging austerity program meant that he carefully excluded those who presented valid criticisms of the centrepiece of Osborne’s strategy: accelerated austerity for purely ideological ends, (see also Minarchism: the Nightwatchman State), and it halted the recovery that happened under the previous Labour Government. Much of the case for austerity also rests on The great debt lie and the myth of the structural deficit.

The widespread and relentless use of Tory propaganda in the media has undermined public support and sympathy for the sick and disabled people of the UK. Examples of such propaganda include the ad nauseum use of value-laden terms in political narratives and the media, such as “benefit cheat”, “dependency”, “entrenched”, “fraud”, “worklessness”, “addiction”, and more opprobrious examples such as “scrounger”, “skiver”, “workshy” (see Aktion Arbeitsscheu Reich and the origins of this word, it’s now being used very frequently in the media to describe unemployed and disabled people.) Several studies show that compared with the end of the Labour Government, such pejorative language use has risen dramatically, and Duncan Smith is the most frequent Parliamentary user of value-laden terminology.

At the AGM on 14th April this year, Amnesty International UK passed a resolution on the Human Rights of sick and disabled people in the UK. The resolution was proposed by Rick Burgess and Nancy Farrell of the WOW petition.

Kittysjones notes that the government will find this criticism difficult to ignore, as it comes from a well-respected, apolitical organisation. That should be the case, but Conservative administrations on both sides of the Atlantic have a way of deflecting such criticism. Any criticisms by organisations such as Amnesty International or civil liberties’ organisations are rejected as disproportionate or excessive, compared with more blatant and vicious violations of human rights by other countries. The argument runs that Amnesty International and similar watchdogs cannot legitimately compare legislation passed against the disabled or poor by Western democracies, while Communist China, for example, has 60 million people in forced labour camps, and many Islamic nations are increasingly and brutally persecuting their non-Muslim populations. The position is that one cannot compare the abolition of state benefits, or lengthening of hours in Britain and America, with the forcible imprisonment and execution of political opponents by these regimes. In fact Amnesty and other organisations are not claiming that the two are of the same order. They are merely stating that the attacks on the disabled in the West are nevertheless violations of their rights and dignity.

Kittysjones’ article is nevertheless well worth reading, and Amnesty International’s attack on government policy is a strong indictment of the callous attitude of this administration. It’s at

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