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Human Rights Day Statement – response to COVID-19 

Representatives from charities, NGOs, think tanks, academic institutions, regional alliances and community organisers joined us to say: 

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.    

See the full statement and list of signatories here

Survey on economic and social rights in England  

What do people in England think are the essential conditions needed to live in dignity, safety and security? Should these things be protected in domestic law?   

In 2020, Just Fair conducted a survey to gather views on economic and social rights in England.  The purpose of the survey was to gain insight into public awareness of economic and social rights, and whether people would like to see these rights protected in law.  

The findings of this research study confirm the view that protecting our economic and social rights is supported by many people living in England, with different and multiple intersecting characteristics.   

The importance of the Human Rights Act 

We joined 110 groups from across the UK in an open letter to the UK Government’s Prime Minister and political leaders urging them to stand with them for the “shared values of equal dignity, respect, fairness and decency; to protect people’s rights and the rule of law, to stand for the Human Rights Act.” 

To see the full letter and list of signatories, click here

The right to housing in Wales 

The campaign to recognise housing as a fundamental right in Wales has been boosted by the backing of key signatories. We co-signed this letter, joining signatories from housing, elected representatives and commissioners, academia, the charity and third sectors to ‘Back the Bill’. 

Wales is in the midst of a housing crisis. Demand significantly outstrips supply. Many people are unable to afford homes in their local communities. And, for some, the suitability – and safety – of their home is grossly inadequate. It was the housing crisis that contributed to the tragic circumstances of the Grenfell fire in North London in 2017, claiming 72 lives.  

We must put measures in place to avoid this ever happening again. We believe that at the core of any solution to the housing crisis is a national commitment to the fundamental principle that every one of us should have a human right – underpinned by law – to access adequate and sustainable housing. As we consider this landmark legislation, Wales is battling its worst public health crisis in living memory which has sadly led to loss of life.  

Governments at all levels have responded to unprecedented demand for support, including in the housing sector where a rights-based approach has been adopted, in particular for those experiencing the blight of homelessness. Out of tragic circumstances, there is a renewed understanding of – and momentum behind – the concept of housing as a basic right; for a Wales where the threats of homelessness, inaccessibility and unaffordability are things of the past. 

‘Back the Bill’ is a joint campaign run by housing charities Tai Pawb, CIH Cymru and Shelter Cymru following the commissioning of a feasibility study in June 2018 in conjunction with Dr Simon Hoffman of Swansea University. 

Tai Pawb says that “The study provides a roadmap for incorporation of the right to adequate housing into Welsh law and how it could help address some of the key housing issues of the day, including security of tenancy, accessibility, affordability and homelessness. The recently-published Draft Bill sets out how such legislation could be realised, pushing focus and resource into housing and driving a systemic shift in policy approach that would reset the dial on the housing system in Wales”. 

To find out more, contact our Campaigns and Advocacy Lead, Misha Nayak-Oliver.