Decent housing is a human right – and Labour could commit to making it a reality.
LHG, together with the Labour Campaign for Human Rights (LCHR), has published a pamphlet explaining why housing should be a human right in English law, and what it should cover.
‘Housing is a human right: how Labour can make it a reality’ comprises 16 new essays by housing and human rights academics and practitioners who explain the position of housing in international human rights law, how those laws could be applied across areas of housing policy in the UK, and what the legal and practical implications are. With the foreword written by Matthew Pennycook MP, Shadow Minister for Housing and Planning, the pamphlet reminds us that support for this move has already come from Labour politicians including Keir Starmer, Andy Burnham, and Lucy Powell.
The authors propose that the principles of human rights law should be applied to housing and become a tool for transforming peoples’ lives. Although the UK is signed up to the UN declaration of human rights, we have yet to enshrine many of these rights in UK law. Indeed, as LCHR notes that, while the last Labour Government adopted strong legislation to defend our civil and political rights, our human rights to health, food or indeed housing remain unprotected. It is one of the key reasons why the country faces an unprecedented crisis of unaffordable and unsafe homes.
As the pamphlet shows, there are many good reasons and strong international precedents for putting the right to adequate housing into domestic human rights law. Countries such as Canada, Finland and Portugal have shown us the way, while encouraging steps are being taken in Wales and Scotland too. For those of us in England, the real question now is not whether to do so, but when, and how.
Chapter authors (many writing in their personal capacities):
- Dr Koldo Casla (University of Essex Human Rights Centre Clinic)
- Leilani Farha (Director of The Shift, and former UN Special Rapporteur for the Right to Adequate Housing)
- Cllr Nick Forbes and Neil Munslow (Newcastle)
- Cllr Amanda Pinnock (Kirklees)
- Sem Moema (Member of London Assembly)
- Karen Buck MP
- Kathy Boles (Disability Labour)
- Sheila Spencer (LHG)
- Steve Hilditch (LHG)
- Peter Roderick
- Dr Stuart Hodgkinson
- Giles Peaker
- Liz Davies QC
- Marianne Hood (LHG)
- Mark Griffin (Member of the Scottish Parliament)
- Martin Gallagher
LHG and LCHR will be announcing further events to follow the launch. These will look at what steps should be taken next, and how to focus on specific areas such as overcoming discrimination and enforcing rights.
Sign up to an e-mail about further work on Housing is a Human Right here.
Watch the launch video below: