Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Angie: Thoughts and Reflections

Today at the UN, I was very pleased. One of the members of the committee, Ariranga Pillay, had asked the UK government the question I had put to him as important to me and my group. My question was about the inequality of social housing provision in North Belfast, especially for Catholics and Nationalists.

In 2000 80% of people experiencing housing stress in North Belfast were Catholic. By 2008, after a seven year strategy and £133 million spent, 73% of people experiencing housing stress were Catholic. Mr. Pillay used these statistics to ask the government what "remedial action" they were taking to fix these inequalities. (On a similar note, Mr. Eibe Riedel also asked about rising suicide rates and mental health in Northern Ireland after some lobbying from Gerard!)

Unfortunately, the UK government was not able to respond because there was no one from the Northern Ireland Office in Geneva to answer. I found this especially disappointing with all the groups there, bringing Northern Irish issues to the fore.

But as a person with mobility issues, there was a further disappointment. It was quite shocking about the lack of human dignity in the treatment of anyone with disabilities in Geneva. For example, in the hotel, the only way I could get down the stairs was in a dumb waiter! It was humiliating to have everyone watching.

Overall, though, the trip was a great success and very enjoyable and educational. Our issues were considered and even raised! The trip was not in vain!

No comments:

Post a Comment