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Just Fair statement in response to COVID – 19

The COVID-19 pandemic has fostered levels of social solidarity not seen in most of our lifetimes. It has revealed to us what we truly value: being with our families and friends, the institutions and services that express our care for each other, the invaluable role of essential workers whose contribution for too long has gone unrecognised and unrewarded, our communities and the environment that we must all protect. We have been reminded of what we have in common and that when we act together rather than just for ourselves, we all benefit.

COVID–19 has also laid bare the historic and structural inequalities that already existed between us.  The pandemic has disproportionately affected Black, Asian and minoritized ethnic (BAME) people, older and disabled people and their families, women, those in poverty, insecure housing or precarious employment and people who have come to the UK to escape difficult circumstances abroad. We are renewed in our commitment to do away with these persistent injustices.

Our National Health Service and welfare state were created out of the sense of shared identity and common purpose that emerged from the Second World War. That era also inspired the creation of an international human rights movement based on the inherent dignity of everyone and a vision of universal freedom from tyranny and want. This moment requires no less ambition.

We believe that a just and more equal UK requires improved protection of our human rights by giving, for the first time, legal recognition to the rights to health, housing, food, social security, education and just conditions of work. Our policy makers and institutions should be obliged to adhere to these rights and, crucially, those who face the greatest injustices must have their voices heard as leaders in bringing this change about.

Now is the opportunity for us to build the better society to which we aspire. A society in which everyone has the rights they need to flourish. There is no more time to waste.

Endorse the statement

This is our statement in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Organisations and individuals are invited to endorse it by contacting us.

Endorsing the statement does not indicate endorsement of Just Fair’s other work.

What next?

We will share the statement with local and national decision makers, and use it to challenge us all to build a fairer and more just society.

See the full list of endorsements here.

Actions we have supported:

A letter to Boris Johnson MP, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, and Gavin Williamson CBE MP, Secretary of State for Education, with Marcus Rashford MBE, Jamie Oliver MBE, Dame Emma Thompson, Tom Kerridge, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, charities and campaigners to express concern over the Free School Meals policy.

A letter to the UN Human Rights Treaty Bodies and the Human Rights Treaties Branch of the OHCHR concerning the functioning of the UN Treaty Bodies during the COVID-19 pandemic.

A letter, coordinated by NACCOM, Asylum Matters, and Migrants’ Rights Network, to the UK Government to reverse the decision to evict people with No Recourse to Public Funds (NRPF) into homelessness.

Medact’s Patient’s not Passports campaign to end the Hostile Environment for migrants in the NHS.

Build Back Better‘s coronavirus recovery plan.

Sustain’s Coronavirus food alert: Call for Government Action for people in need.

Migrant Rights Network, Public Interest Law Centre, and Project 17 letter to local authorities over urgent action needed to support vulnerable migrants during the COVID-19 crisis.

A letter coordinated by Thrive Teeside calling on child benefit to be increased.

A letter by the London Child Poverty Alliance calling for increased support for families with children.

A letter by Jubilee Debt Campaign urging the chancellor to take action to ensure families weren’t pushed into debt.

A letter by Asylum Matters to the Home Secretary demanding an increase in asylum support rates.

A letter to the Education Secretary calling for urgent changes to the temporary extension of eligibility for free school meals for some children who have NRPF.

A letter to Local Authorities calling on them to commit to providing ongoing shelter and support to all those experiencing or at risk of homelessness during and after the COVID-19 pandemic, and to do so regardless of immigration status.

Open letter to the UK Government over lack of COVID-19 guidance in languages other than English.

Our blogs and research:

Written submission to the House of Lords COVID-19 Committee inquiry into living online: the long-term impact on wellbeing

Just Fair’s recommendations to the UK Government: Protecting the right to housing in England’s COVID-19 lockdown

Joint written submission with Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) to the Transport Committee inquiry into coronavirus: implications for transport

Written submission to the Economic Affairs Committee’s inquiry into employment and COVID-19

Written submission to the Treasury Committee’s inquiry into tax after coronavirus 

Written submission to the Education Committee inquiry into the impact of COVID-19 on education and children’s services

UK Government’s decision to lift eviction ban breaches our economic and social rights, blog by Misha Nayak-Oliver

UK Government’s ASPEN policy violates international human rights of asylum seekers, blog by Misha Nayak-Oliver

Children will go hungry without Coronavirus voucher reform, op-ed for Each Other by Imogen Richmond-Bishop

COVID-19 doesn’t discriminate but society does, guest blog for the Equality Trust by Imogen Richmond-Bishop

Coronavirus: why some people are dying in fear of seeking help and how to stop it, op-ed for Each Other by Imogen Richmond-Bishop

Joint submission with Migrants Rights Network to the Housing Committee inquiry into the impact of COVID-19 on homelessness 

Coronavirus in austerity UK: poverty and discrimination compounded for Open Global Rights by Imogen Richmond-Bishop and Dr Sara Bailey

Rights Cast Podcast: Holiday Hunger: The Right to Food and Free School Meals with Candice James and Imogen Richmond-Bishop

A good life for all: why a human rights based approach to poverty and inequality makes sense for Rethinking Poverty by Anya Bonner and Imogen Richmond-Bishop

Submission to the Women and Equalities Select Committee inquiry into “Unequal impact: coronavirus and the impact on people with protected characteristics” 

Actions we have taken:

Co-developing a Manifesto for a Better Normal for disabled people post-COVID-19.

Writing to universities in the North East asking them to extend support to Sanctuary Scholarship students.

Sent a letter to the chief executives of all local authorities in the North East asking for them to ensure the protection of socio-economic rights during the pandemic period.