By Koldo Casla and Peter Roderick
Just Fair has submitted a contribution to the Grenfell Tower Inquiry recommending it to consider the extent to which the implementation of the human right to adequate housing would have helped to prevent the tragedy, and could help to prevent such fires and effects in the future.
The right to adequate housing is recognised in several international human rights treaties ratified by the UK.
However, unlike other countries, and despite the UK’s significant contribution to the formation and development of the international human rights system over many years, the UK has not yet incorporated the right to housing into our national law.
The right to housing means the right to live in security, peace and dignity and the guarantee of physical safety.
The inclusion of a human rights perspective will enable the inquiry to draw on specific obligations underlying the right to housing when formulating the questions that the inquiry will need to address.
A human rights perspective will also enable the inquiry to investigate and assess issues that go beyond the proximate cause/s of the fire, such as a) the involvement of residents in the definition of housing policies, b) the assessment of the human rights impact of these policies on people on low incomes, people who face discrimination because of their ethnicity or race, unemployed people, single-parent families, young people and people with disabilities, c) the mechanisms to protect security of tenure, and d) in particular the collection of gender-sensitive and gender-disaggregated data to evaluate and measure women’s actual enjoyment of their right to adequate housing.