Today is the UN designated international people with disabilities day. If only the UN & EU had the slightest idea of what it is like to be disabled in the 21st Century. I live in England so will discuss how people with disabilities are treated in the UK.
There are many disabled/ chronically sick people who are simply not being cared for by their national Government. The coalition has implemented a new benefits system which has caused fear, doubt, labelled disabled people as scroungers and accused them of cheating the system.
In the past 4 years over 60 disabled people have committed suicide directly due to the Work Capability Assessments, undertaken By ATOS (who rescinded their contract early).
These people, many of whom had covert chronic illnesses; breast cancer, brain tumour, mental health issues, bowel cancer etc etc. Yet they have been assessed as being fit for work when it is patently obvious they are not able to work. How can this be right or just?
Why have the EU and UN not intervened to stop disabled people, in the UK, being treated in this discriminatory way. It is as if the Government want to punish people for being disabled.
I understand fully how it feels, I have use a wheelchair so when people see that they usually understand that I'm unable to do certain activities.
This is not so for those who do not have any visible, overt, disability signs to draw the attention of the person looking at them. The current state of mental health services in the UK are woeful in what the world views as a very civilised society. It is amazing that the UK has always led the way with regard to fairness and dignity, save for how they treat their disabled & sick citizens.
Disabled people today are vilified to such an extent that they are scared of the recriminations from others, many of whom have been fed countless half truths via the media. Such recriminations accuse them of playing the system. This is causing further discrimination and causing such deep despair that some have sadly taken their own lives because they are unable to cope.
Whilst I welcome the UN's international People with Disabilities Day it has not had one mention on the news today in the UK. Nothing, so I say to the UN please ensure you promote this day, promote the fact that some people with disabilities can work and sadly that many can't.
The lack of support for the disabled of the UK is an absolute travesty. However, at least access to transport in the UK is not so much of a barrier these days.
All taxi firms in the UK must have at least one vehicle that has a wheelchair access vehicle. Sadly the same cannot be said about he home of the EU. There are very few vehicles. Sadly I have had to make a plea to various taxi firms in Brussels in order to arrange transport from Brussels Midi. I have found one now & contact him directly to meet me at the station. This would not be a problem in the UK.
The pavements and access around The European District of Brussels are in dire straits, indeed I could not make my way around without forever crossing roads, going all around the streets to cross safely. A journey from the EU Thon Hotel the Parliament Building in a conventional manner.
As the EU states it is at the forefront of ensuring dignity and equality of people's, sadly this does not apply to wheelchair users who travel to & stay in Brussels.
I would therefore challenge the UN and EU Chiefs to take a day in an electric wheelchair and come around Brussels with me so they may see how difficult it is first hand.
This may ensure some deeper understanding and real help for the people who use wheelchairs, walking aids and then we can start on getting the UN and EU to come to the UK and other member states to meet people who have all manner of disabilities. This may also open their eyes, words are cheap, international celebrations days are cheaper what we need is practical assistance not platitudes.