Monthly Archives: March 2013

23rd March: Sisters of Frida conference and AGM



Sisters of Frida will be meeting at the Friend’s House in London on Saturday 23rd to have a mini conference and AGM. We will be discussing structures, future projects and working together.

We wish to thank Inclusion London for making it possible and Charlotte Gage of Women Resource Centre for helping to facilitate.

We will write more about it after the event.

ILondon100       wrc

Why contributing to CEDAW and CRPD shadow reports is important

Sisters of Frida have been part of the CEDAW Working Group for the past few years. It is since the present Coalition Government that we are getting more and more stories of hardships and even deaths/suicides of disabled people under the draconian cuts imposed by the austerity drive. Disability hate crimes have risen and disabled people have been stigmatised as scroungers in the media and many are living in fear of losing their benefits, homes, and independent living.
We highlighted one just last week when one of our own Sisters of Frida’s members, Anne Pridmore, was at court with other 5 people on behalf of thousands of others –  challenging the Government’s decision to scrap the Independent Living Fund from 2015 and devolve it to local authorities instead. With Anne’s story and those of other women affected by the closure of the Independent Living Fund, we can see how Article 19 of the CRPD is being violated in the UK.
This is what Anne has to say about it:
(From Channel 4 website)
And this is her story on the Disabled People Against Cuts website.
In addition there are the other issues such as domestic violence for disabled women – they would be even more vulnerable to abuse and less able to leave their family ‘carers’ without the funding. Benefits such as the Disability Living Allowance (DLA, soon to become Personal Independence Payment PIP), Employment Support Allowance (ESA) would no longer be eligible for many disabled people vigourously reassessed by Atos Healthcare.  Disabled women who need it to help them with maintaining their independent living will be stranded at home and isolated from their communities. Sometimes these reassessments have even caused deaths. Disability rights fought for and by disabled men and women are seriously being eroded. We need to alert the rest of the world of the plight of disabled community in the UK by the government rescinding on its own obligations.
Sisters of Frida has submitted CRPD general discussion on women and girls with disabilities as part of the UK CEDAW working group. It is obvious that there is much intersection between CEDAW and CRPD and we should use both instruments and contribute as disabled women to the shadow reports.

The Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is critical to monitoring the implementation of the CRPD. All countries that have ratified the treaty must submit regular reports to the Committee on how the rights protected in the CRPD are being implemented in their countries.

Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women

The Committee on the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women members discusses the reports with the Government representatives and explore with them areas for further action by the specific country. The Committee also makes general recommendations to the States parties on matters concerning the elimination of discrimination against women.

Producing Shadow Reports to the CEDAW Committee:
A Procedural Guide

Explains how to write shadow reports that monitor and document the human rights situation in your country. This guide is focused on monitoring the CEDAW. However, it could be adapted by DPOs for use in producing their own shadow reports in monitoring implementation of the CRPD as well.

Update on Anne Pridmore’s fight for the Independent Living Fund


Channel 4 news Katie Razzall had the piece  all ready for broadcast that eventful evening on the 13th March where Anne was at court with the other 5 people on behalf of thousands of others –  challenging the Government’s decision to scrap the Independent Living Fund from 2015 and devolve it to local authorities instead. However, in an ironic twist, news broke that a new Pope was chosen and all news coverage focused on that instead.

It was published online instead

Anne told Channel 4 News: “It’s like the sword of Damocles hanging over my shoulder because it’s always on your mind: what’s going to happen? Many of us feel the same way. If the local authority won’t take over the funding to pay for the bit the ILF have been paying, I see the only option is being put into an old people’s home. I’ve lived in this house for 47 years and didn’t expect to have to campaign to stay in my own home at my age.”

Mrs Pridmore has met representatives from her local council to ask what their plans are.

“I pressed them but they were very cagey, and talked about other ways of providing care which doesn’t involve “hands on” care. I believe they are probably referring to things like people having to use incontinence pads. They are not doing that yet in my local authority but I know that people who have to use these in other areas.”

Lawyers for the six told us they are challenging the Government decision on two grounds.

They say the Government is breaching the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities, to which it is a signatory and which includes promises to promote independent living.

They also argue the consultation process carried out before the scheme was axed was “unlawful” because it didn’t provide adequate information on the differences between the fund and the local authority assessment and provision. They also say there hasn’t been proper assessment of the impact of the change on disabled people’s ability to live and work indepdently.

Read the rest on the Channel 4 website.
Read also her story on the DPAC website.

News from sisters


Firstly, we are happy for Maria Zedda of Wideaware to announce the launch that Transport Minister Norman Baker MP will today launch an improved website designed with the help of disabled people for rail passengers who may need assistance when travelling by rail.

rail accessibility

rail accessibility

The Association of Train Operating Companies (ATOC) has expanded and renamed its successful Rail Travel Made Easy website, adding more information and advice on rail travel for the increasing numbers of disabled people now travelling by train.

The revamped site, now called Rail Accessibility – Rail Travel Made Easy, will be launched at a meeting of the National Rail Accessibility Group in Parliament this afternoon.

Maria Zedda, Managing Director of Wideaware said: “This has been a very exciting project to be involved in. The Rail Accessibility – Rail Travel Made Easy website will deliver really useful information to disabled and older passengers.”

And to announce the publication of Armineh Soorenian’s  Housing and transport: access issues for disabled international students in British universities.

This article explores two disabled people’s ‘Seven Needs’ to independent living, those of ‘housing’ and ‘transport’ issues, in relation to disabled international students in British universities. Firstly, students’ living arrangements, including issues related to the suitability of university accommodation to their disability-related needs, have been identified. Secondly, the choice and accessibility of transport used is examined. A range of barriers that this group of students encounter based on their double or multiple identities as ‘disabled’, ‘international’ and sometimes ‘mature’ or ‘postgraduate’ students has thus been identified and discussed. The article highlights the barriers that are reinforced and exacerbated by the interplay of students’ different identities, proposing ways of removing these difficulties.

anne pridmoreLastly but not least we wish all the best to Anne Pridmore as one of the six taking on the DWP against the closure of the Independent Living Fund in the High Court in London and we urge everyone who can make it to join the virgil on Wednesaday and Thursday. Help by writing to your MP – here’s the template letter.

We are with you in spirit, Sister, if not in body!