News ID: 253220
Published: 0510 GMT May 22, 2019

UN says Britain is violating rights of citizens with austerity

UN says Britain is violating rights of citizens with austerity

The United Nations has renewed its criticism of poverty in Britain, saying the government is violating its human rights obligations with its ideological way of implementing austerity measures.

UN special rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights Philip Alston said on Wednesday that the Conservative-led government in United Kingdom had created “systematic immiseration of millions” with a series of austerity measures that started in 2010, Presstv Reported.

 Alston reiterated in his report that despite being the fifth largest economy in the world, Britain had left a fifth of its population (14 million people) in poverty and 1.5 million people were in destitution.

The Australian international law scholar said UK was violating its human rights obligations with its “ideological” drive for austerity which he said had “tragic social consequences”.

“Considering the significant resources available in the country and the sustained and widespread cuts to social support, which have resulted in significantly worse outcomes, the policies pursued since 2010 amount to retrogressive measures in clear violation of the country's human rights obligations,” said Alston.

The report comes six months after Alston visited the UK to find out the implications of austerity on rising poverty in the country.

The UN official confirmed at the time that budget cuts and a special government program for social care had intensified problems in Britain.

The UK government reacted to Alston’s report on by calling it a “barely believable documentation of Britain” and a “completely inaccurate picture” of government efforts to tackle poverty in the country.

However, Alston said in his report, which will be presented to the UN Human Rights Council next month, that people in Britain had been deprived of access to many normal services due to austerity.  

“The social safety net has been badly damaged by drastic cuts to local authorities' budgets, which have eliminated many social services, reduced policing services, closed libraries in record numbers, shrunk community and youth centers, and sold off public spaces and buildings,” he said.



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