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We monitor and research economic and social rights, which are a category of human rights recognised in international law.  Economic and social rights belong to all people in the UK. 

JUST FAIR’S RESEARCH HIGHLIGHTS

Tackling socio-economic inequalities locally

Good practices in the implementation of the socio-economic duty by local authorities in England.

September 2018

The extent of wealth and income inequality is of widespread concern in England; yet there is no national policy agenda focused specifically on tackling disadvantage caused by socioeconomic inequality, whether by reducing poverty or promoting inclusive growth.

This research explores how a selected number of English local authorities are tackling socioeconomic disadvantage. It also examines how a legally enforceable duty in the form of section 1 of the Equality Act 2010 would support this endeavour.

This research involved desktop research and interviews with (among others) 20 individuals in seven local authorities: the Metropolitan Boroughs of Manchester, Newcastle, Oldham and Wigan; the Unitary Authorities of Bristol City and City of York; and the London Borough Council of Islington. Contact was purposefully pursued with authorities which would provide examples across council type, geographical location and political control.

Read the report here.

Securing the Rights of Disabled People

Dignity and Opportunity for All: Securing the rights of disabled people in the austerity era

2014

Even at a time of economic austerity and fiscal consolidation, States Parties to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities (UNCRPD) are under an obligation to respect, protect and fulfil the economic, social and cultural rights of disabled people. There is a presumption that policies that result in retrogression (backward steps in relation to the realising of the rights) are not compatible with international human rights law.

There is also a duty to satisfy the minimum core obligations to enable all citizens to meet their most basic needs. This report focuses on the realisation of the following rights in relation to disabled people:

  • the right to independent living under UNCRPD Article 19
  • the right to work and to fair and just conditions of employment under ICESCR Articles 6 and 7 and UNCRPD Article 27
  • the rights to social security and social protection under ICESCR Article 9 and ICESCR Article 28
  • the right to an adequate standard of living under ICESCR Article 11 and UNCRPD Article 28

The report seeks to evaluate the extent to which the UK is meeting its obligations to realise these rights, with reference to General Comments and Concluding Observations published by the relevant UN treaty-monitoring bodies.

Read the report here.

Protecting the Right to Housing in England: A Context of Crisis

2015

England is experiencing a housing crisis. Exceptionally high numbers of people are homeless, or vulnerable to homelessness. The current housing environment is characterised by deep cuts to social welfare benefits, profound issues of lack of supply, high and further increasing housing costs, lack of security of tenure, and homes of such poor quality that they are unfit for habitation. These issues plague all of England’s main housing tenure types: the owner occupied, the private rental sector (PRS), and the social housing sector.

Housing insecurity affects not only people on low incomes, but broad swathes of the English population, who currently live in situations of insecurity and uncertainty. In this context of crisis, the government is failing to meet its obligations to ensure the right to housing of its population, so that everyone can enjoy a standard of living in homes that are adequate, safe, and secure. The UK accepted international obligations to respect, protect and fulfil the right to housing under the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) when it ratified the ICESCR in 1976. It undertook to take progressive steps towards the realisation of the right to housing, using all the means at its disposal, both financial and otherwise.

This report focuses on two areas of particular concern in England, which show that the UK government is manifestly failing to discharge its obligations for the right to adequate housing under the ICESCR.

Read the report here.

Going Hungry? The Human Right to Food in the UK

2014

This report analyses state action and assesses the UK’s compliance with the duty to secure the human right to adequate food.

In terms of structure, we start by outlining the key elements of the human right to food, as defined under international human rights law, before proceeding to examine whether the UK is in compliance with its duties in terms of that right. The final part of the report sets out recommendations which, if implemented, would enhance the State’s compliance with its international obligations in relation to the right to food.

The UK Government is legally required under international human rights law to secure the human right to adequate food for everyone in the UK. But in recent years we have seen large increases in the levels of malnutrition, hunger and food bank usage, all of which are indicative of the UK being in breach of its international legal obligations in respect of the right to food.

Read the report here.

Why is the two-child limit contrary to the UK’s human rights obligations?

July 2020

Just Fair is a proud member of the All Kids Count campaign alongside organisations such as Child Poverty Action Group, the Equality Trust, and Amnesty International. This campaign is calling on the UK Government to lift the two-child limit and help all children thrive.

The two-child limit is a policy that restricts welfare payments to families based on family size and is forcing these families into poverty and hardship by not providing them with an adequate income.

As we argue in this briefing, this policy is clearly contrary to the UK’s international human rights obligations and its introduction cannot be justified by austerity. In one of the wealthiest nations in the world, the UK cannot afford to have a third of children living in poverty.

We need the UK Government to be using the maximum available resources to respect, protect, and fulfil children’s rights to live free of poverty and this should include by removing the two-child limit.

Read the report here.

Submission from Just Fair on a Bill of Rights for the UK 

This submission consists of four parts and focuses on what we believe any future UK Bill of Rights should contain. First, we address the enforcement of economic, social and cultural rights (ESCR) in the UK under the law as it currently stands. Second, we consider a number of common misunderstandings about the impact of enshrining justiciable ESCR. Part three highlights a number of possible approaches to the inclusion of ESCR in a Bill of Rights for the UK. Finally, we outline possible models of justiciable ESCR.

It is important to make it clear from the outset that nothing in this submission should be taken to undermine the protection of human rights under the Human Rights Act (HRA) 1998 as currently enacted. While we strongly advocate the domestic legal incorporation of ESCR, the HRA plays a fundamental role in ensuring the protection of human rights in the UK. This submission is thus very much from the perspective of ‘HRA Plus’. In particular, we strongly submit that there is no case for a weakening of the enforcement mechanisms in the HRA. Nor should anything in this submission be taken to undermine or negatively impact upon the Northern Ireland Bill of Rights process which is much further evolved than the UK Bill of Rights one.

Read the report here.

Updated submission to the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in advance of the public examination of the UK’s implementation of ICESCR

May 2016

This submission contains Just Fair’s response to some of the issues raised by the Committee on Economic Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR) in its ‘List of Issues on the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland’, which was published in November 2015.

It should be read in conjunction with Just Fair’s parallel report to the Committee in October 2015, to which this submission cross-refers throughout.

Just Fair is alarmed by the paucity of the State Party’s response to the List of Issues and has therefore sought to address the Committee’s questions in detail.

Read the report here.

 

Implementation of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland: Parallel Report

2015

Just Fair set up the ‘Just Fair Consortium’ with the intention of monitoring compliance with the Covenant and assisting the Committee with its State Party review. This report is submitted on behalf of the ‘Just Fair Consortium’, an association of 70 or so civil society groups that campaign for social justice in the UK. It has been prepared by experts in international human rights law who have worked with the Consortium’s members to identify and examine their most pressing concerns and offers an independent and indepth analysis of the UK’s compliance with ICESCR.

This submission focuses on a selected number of areas of implementation of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) by the UK Government and is designed to assist the Pre-Sessional Working Group formulate its list of issues and the Committee to review the UK performance under ICESCR. The submission brings together analysis set out by Just Fair in four thematic reports it produced in the last two years and offers a detailed account of recent policy changes and their known or potential impact on economic and social rights in the UK. The reports are:

  • ‘Going Hungry? The Human Right to Food in the UK’
  • ‘Dignity and Opportunity for All: Securing the rights of disabled people in the austerity era’
  • ‘Protecting the Right to Housing in England: A Context of Crisis’
  • ‘The Right to Health in the UK’

All of the reports have been updated since publication and incorporated into this submission, with a section of the submission devoted to each report. Key recommendations are made at the end of each sub-section.

Note that the Report deals with the decisions of the UK Government based in Westminster.

Read the report here.

SUBMISSIONS TO INQUIRIES AND CONSULTATIONS

The Special Rapporteur hears from people affected by poverty in Newham - C Bassam Khawaja 2018


Joint Submission to the 'Welfare Safety Net' Inquiry of the Work and Pensions Committee

December 2018

REPORTS: LOCAL, REGIONAL AND NATIONAL

A block of flats

No-fault evictions violate human rights: Section 21 must end

September 2018

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