The deeply critical attitude of current United Kingdom politicians in relation to other countries’ violations of fundamental human rights is widely known. However, while criticizing other countries, the United Kingdom, with its characteristic stance of double standards, is completely ignoring human rights in its own kingdom, something which has now even been recognized by UN staff.
According to the Herald Scotland regional newspaper it is for exactly this reason, that United Nations staff intend to visit the UK to investigate the welfare reforms that have led to grave and systematic violations of the rights of certain categories of population in this country. In particular, the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities intends to conduct thorough investigation of the situation, and has already launched an investigation into the activities of the head of the Department for Work and Pensions UK ( DWP ) Iain Duncan Smith.
The reason being that in late August of this year, the Minister for Work and Pensions, I.D. Smith, announced the Department for Work and Pensions’ plan to reduce benefits for the disabled, depriving a million Britons of Employment and Support Allowance (ESA). These “new developments” will affect 43% of people with disabilities, as indicated in a report by the regional human rights organization Inclusion Scotland. What is quite remarkable is that, according to statistics recently released by the Department of Work and Pensions, from December 2011 to February 2014 2,380 Britons died, after social services found them ‘fit to work’ and struck them off the list of persons with disabilities. Inclusion Scotland reported in their study, that in 2018 more than 80,000 persons with disabilities in Scotland alone will lose all or some of their social benefits and currently disabled people in some areas already have to wait for their benefits for 10 months owing to the Department for Work and Pensions error.
UK authorities also intend to abolish unemployment benefits for young people in the near future. Civil service head, Matt Hancock, explained the measures as “the aim to reduce the unemployment rate among young people and to tackle welfare dependency.” The government also stated that the new system of payment does not exclude low-income citizens and those with small children, which is a direct violation of the commitments, upheld by those in power, to the social protection of the rights of disadvantaged people.
The Daily Mirror wrote that as a result of the reduced tax benefits, British parents are unable to provide for their children, which, according to the advocacy group Child Poverty Action, is becoming a serious problem for the British. Parents who work full time for the minimum wage, will not haveaccess to food, clothing and shelter, as well as buying children’s gifts for birthdays, and many will not even be able to afford an annual week-long holiday on their budgets.
According to a report in the Guardian, four British ombudsmen for children’s rights from England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland have prepared a joint review, where many of the decisions of David Cameron’s Conservative government have been questioned and are considered a violation of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, which was ratified by the UK. The report expresses serious concern over the government’s plans to reduce the funding of the social sector by 12 billion pounds a year, as already 4.1 million children in the UK live in absolute poverty (500,000 more than in 2010, when David Cameron came to power).
Moreover, the study prepared by the ombudsmen drew attention to the outrageous fact that 25% of children in the UK are subjected to domestic violence by adults, and local courts, as a rule, do not rule in children’s’ favour. The infringement of human rights and the issue of the separation of families, including children and their parents, has resulted in the government’s recent decision to impose minimum income obligations on migrants from non-European countries in order to limit their entry into the United Kingdom.
On June 20, approximately 250,000 people from all over the country came to London to protest the government’s anti-social decisions and the cuts to social programs. Such public outcry will, of course, only increase in the near future.
Deputy First Minister of Scotland, John Swinney, pointed out on BBC radio that, under these conditions, at a time of large-scale funding cuts to the social sector, London’s official decision to modernise its nuclear fleet at the cost of protecting its most needy citizens, seems at the very least to be an immoral choice and entirely questionable.
However, David Cameron’s current Conservative government has little interest of care for the aspirations and misfortunes of ordinary British citizens, and under a veil of hypocrisy and double standards is preparing for new military interventions against countries violating the “democratic principles and human rights” without paying attention to the situation in their country in any way.
Valery Kulikov, political analyst, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.