Sunday, 21 September 2014

UN expert says UK government 'most aggressive' in 11 missions

An under-fire UN inspector said she had never faced such an ‘aggressive’ reaction from a government, after a report she wrote was branded an ‘absolute disgrace’ by a senior Tory politician.

Former housing minister Grant Shapps has written to the UN, calling for an investigation into special rapporteur Raquel Rolnik for political bias.

She presented her preliminary findings yesterday after a two week trip around the UK, recommending the immediate suspension and review of the bedroom tax on human rights grounds.

‘It was the first time a government has been so aggressive,’ she said in an interview with Inside Housing.

‘When I was in the USA, I had a constructive conversation with them accepting some things and arguing with others. They did not react like this.’

Ms Rolnik has also carried out missions to the Maldives, Kazakhstan, Croatia, Algeria, Argentina, Rwanda, Israel/Palestine and Indonesia.

Rejecting allegations of bias she said: ‘I didn’t come here to investigate the bedroom tax, I came here as a normal country mission, to assess the situation.

‘I came across the bedroom tax when I was here, but I am an independent investigator.’

Mr Shapps also accused her of not being invited to the UK, and not meeting ministers during her visit, allegations she completely rejected.

‘This is absolutely not true,’ she said. ‘I have met officials from many departments, and the details of these meetings are all listed within my report.’

She said she had met senior members of the Department for Work and Pensions twice, as well as personal meetings with communities secretary Eric Pickles and under-secretary Don Foster.

She said the visit was organised by the UK government as part of its obligation under the UN Convention on Human Rights.

A media report today slammed her as a ‘loopy Brazillian leftie’ who had come to ‘lecture’ the UK.

Readers' comments (22)

  • Melvin Bone

    I wonder how many more articles/columns you can get out of the visit from this ‘loopy Brazillian leftie’.

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  • So Shapps is caught out telling lies again, but the British Media instead pursue his own demoniser spin for their own version of the truth - Why is this?

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  • Rick Campbell

    Ms Rolnik was apparently unaware that the perceived self-serving sociopaths in the government were also childlike and favoured bullying people especially foreigners and those who dare to disagree with their thinking.

    Couldn't happen on IH threads though?

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  • Eric Blair

    I think a sure sign that someone has been found out in their campaign of lies is that they launch a personal attack to damage reputations and, they hope, disguise their own wrongdoing. Of course Shapps has an eye on media coverage too.

    Part of this assault is because Ms Rolnik is (shock horror) a woman... I suspect the howls of derision from the braying toffs who make up the Rabid Right Coalition would be a little quieter if she had the good fortune to be a man. But no - how dare she be different? It's enough to make one choke on one's venison burger.

    It feels a bit like no-one is currently 'invited to England' at the moment, including our own citizens. I live in a town with a high rate of ASB. Does this mean that I'm not qualified to comment on anti-social behaviour then? What twisted logic!

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  • Rick Campbell

    The malicious attacks by the government, their propaganda media, acolytes and apologists are being made perhaps because they are running scared because of this .....

    Raquel Rolnik said she would look at all welfare changes and welcomed personal stories of the Work Capability Assessment and how it is affecting people.

    Therefore she wants to hear from you on this as this too will go to the UN General Council in March. Personal stories WILL be included in the report she presents to the UN GENERAL COUNCIL.

    She also wants stories of where people have been stopped from speaking out on the streets at events or meetings, as well.

    email: and they will forward information to Raquel Rolnik

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  • Eric Blair

    Good call Rick! We should be helping Ms Rolnik and ignoring Shapps and his propaganda machine. That's the real solution to the bedroom tax; it's got to go.

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  • So why does size matter in Grant Shapps constituency, where they have reclassified properties to have 1 less bedroom thus allowing some of his constituents to escape the bedroom tax, under occupancy charge, and now apparently called spare room subsidy? They can't make up their minds what to call it, let alone how to implement it. Whilst the same rule is not applicable to other tenants throughout the UK?

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  • Tories are not going to get away with bullying the poor .

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  • Rick Campbell

    "The governments of wealthy western countries do not take kindly to having their filthy human rights laundry hung out for all to see by the United nations."

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  • Things have not gone well for the UK since Cameron decided diplomacy meant placing both feet in one's mouth whilst jumping on the toes of leaders of other nations - is there any coincidence that Putin is rumoured to be wetting himself with laughter at what could be termed 'Carry on Prime Minister, in true Elstree style!

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