OECD report on income inequality

Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development OECD

Published in December 2011, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) report ‘Divided We Stand: Why Inequality Keeps Rising’ shows rising inequality in OECD countries, with the fastest rise in the UK.

The report shows that ‘Income inequality among working-age persons has risen faster in the United Kingdom than in any other OECD country since 1975. From a peak in 2000 and subsequent fall, it has been rising again since 2005 and is now well above the OECD average’.

A key finding of the report is that ‘tax and benefit systems play a major role in reducing market-driven inequality, but have become less effective at redistributing income since the mid-1990s’.

Click here for news release

Click here for country note on the UK

Click here for further details of the report

Washington College of Law – Elderly Rights Source Database

Washington College of Law

The Elderly Rights Source Database is an on-line resource brings together a comprehensive collection of laws and policy instruments relating to the human rights of older people.

The database was put together by The Academy of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law, which is part of the Washington College of Law in The American University in Washington D.C.

Funded by the UN Population Fund (UNFPA), this project has captured and made available international, regional and national policy frameworks and laws that pertain to the rights of older people.

Click here for link

WHO and World Bank report on disability

World Health Organisation WHO

Published in 2011, the first ever World report on disability, produced jointly by WHO and the World Bank, suggests that more than a billion people in the world today experience disability.

People with disabilities have generally poorer health, lower education achievements, fewer economic opportunities and higher rates of poverty than people without disabilities.

An easy read version of the ‘World report on disability’ by the World Health Organisation and the World Bank was published in June 2011.

Click here for report (pdf)

Click here for easy read version (pdf)

Click here for further details on the World Health Organisation website

Consultation response: Women’s Rights, Gender Equality and National Human Rights Institutions

The EHRC logo.

In September 2011, the Equality and Human Rights Commission responded to the OSCE/ODIHR survey on ‘Women’s Rights, Gender Equality and National Human Rights Institutions’.

The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe/Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (OSCE/ODIHR) is undertaking research on the role of National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs) in protecting and promoting women’s rights and gender equality.

It is understood that the resulting information will be reviewed and integrated into a Handbook on NHRIs’ Role in Protecting and Promoting Women’s Rights and Gender Equality in the OSCE Region, drawing on good practices and practical examples from across the OSCE participating States surveyed. The Handbook will be finalised in the course of 2012.

The Commission has responded to the survey to help inform the development of the Handbook, as part of its activity to promote human rights by cooperating with other NHRIs and sharing information and ideas.

 

Launch of international LGBT campaign group Kaleidoscope

In September 2011, Kaleidoscope – a new international LGBT campaign group – was launched in parliament by Speaker John Bercow, the group’s honorary president.

The group will combat the rise in homophobic violence around the world, with a focus on Africa and the Middle East.

Click here for website

Click here for report in the Pink Press on 14 September

Click here for report in the Guardian on 12 September

United Nations race committee’s response to UK report

Office of the High Commisioner for Human Rights

On 1 September 2011, the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) published its report of concluding observations on the UK Government’s 18th and 19th periodic reports, showing how the Government has complied with the International Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD).

In the report, the Committee ‘welcomes the enactment of the Equality Act of 2010 as a landmark improvement in anti- discrimination legislation’ and ‘notes with appreciation the establishment of the Equality and Human Rights Commission under the Equality Act of 2006’.

However, the Committee raises a number of concerns, including concerns relating to:

  • the UK Government’s response to the riots and acts of vandalism that took place in August 2011.
  • reports of an increase in virulent attacks and negative portrayal of ethnic minorities, immigrants, asylum seekers and refugees by the media.
  • the austerity measures adopted in response to the current economic downturn, and the so-called ‘Red Tape’ challenge, including scrutiny of measures envisaged under the Equality Act to prune those deemed ‘bureaucratic or burdensome’.
  • the potential impact of measures in the Localism Bill to enhance decision-making powers at local level.
  • proposed budget cuts to the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC), which may have negative effects on the execution of its mandate.
  • the lack of a race equality strategy that includes an action plan, targets and monitoring provisions.

The Committee recommends that the UK Government ‘ should implement all of the provisions of the Equality Act and ensure that there is no regression from the current levels of protection’.

The report also states that the Committee ‘deeply regrets the State party’s insistence on proceeding immediately with the eviction of the Gypsy and Traveller community at Dale Farm in Essex before identifying and providing alternative culturally appropriate housing for members of these communities’. A separate ‘Statement on Dale Farm’ was also published on 1 September.

In June 2011, UK NGOs Against Racism submitted a report to CERD highlighting the key challenges faced by ethnic minorities in the UK and where the Government could be doing more to tackle inequalities in BME communities.

In July 2011, the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) published its shadow report to CERD, highlighting the key issues that the EHRC considers are impacting on race equality and containing recommendations for government action.

Click here for CERD report of concluding observations on the UK government’s 18th and 19th periodic reports (pdf)

Click here for CERD Statement on Dale Farm (pdf) and click here for petition in support of the UN call to delay the evictions at Dale Farm

Click here for report submitted to CERD by UK NGOs Against Racism

Click here for letter from UK race NGOs published on 21 August 2011

Click here for report submitted to CERD by the Equality and Human Rights Commission

EHRC work on the Convention for the Rights of Disabled People

The EHRC logo.

In August 2011, the Equality and Human Rights Commission published a briefing document on the activities it is carrying out  across Britain to fulfil its role as one of the designated independent bodies which promote, protect and monitor the implementation of the Convention in the UK.

The United Nations Convention for the Rights of Disabled People (UNCRPD) is an international human rights agreement to protect and promote the human rights of disabled people throughout the world. The UK Government ratified the Convention in June 2009. This means that the UK Government (including the devolved Governments) must take concrete action to comply with the legal rights and obligations contained in the Convention.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission together with the Scottish Human Rights Commission, the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission and the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland are the four designated independent bodies to promote, protect and monitor the implementation of the Convention in the UK. Collectively, the Commissions are the UK Independent Mechanism (UKIM) for the Convention.

Click here for briefing

Race equality organisations’ report to CERD

The Runnymede logo.

Runnymede and other UK race equality organisations are going to Geneva on 21 August 2011 ahead of the UK Government’s examination by the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination on 23 and 24 August. The Committee will be assessing the government’s policies on tackling racism and inequalities in the UK’s BME communities, and race organisations will be there to make sure the most important issues are brought to the table.

Runnymede and other race equality organisations produced a report in June 2011 which was submitted to the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) ahead of its examination of the UK Government later this month. The report highlights the key challenges faced by ethnic minorities in the UK and where the Government could be doing more to tackle inequalities in BME communities.

Click here for report (pdf)

Click here for Runnymede website

Shadow report to the Committee for the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination

The EHRC logo.

In July 2011, the Equality and Human Rights Commission published its shadow report to the Committee for the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD).

The report draws the Committee’s attention to the key issues that the Commission considers are impacting on race equality, highlights gaps in the State report, and makes recommendations to the Committee for government to take action.