Today across the world people are celebrating ‘Human Rights Day’. For the Welsh Tenants the principles contained within the Human Rights Convention are more important than ever. Since its adoption some 50 years ago, the convention has helped set a benchmark for a range of other treaties, rights and obligations of which countries have rightly signed up to.
Under those conventions all citizens of the United Kingdom have a ‘right to adequate housing’. That individual right is contained in many international treaties of which the most prominent is article 11.1. of the Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural rights, of which the United Kingdom is a signatory.
Having been in contact with the newly appointed United Nations special rapporteur (SR) for the ‘Right To Adequate Housing’ Leilani Farhar earlier this year, the Welsh Tenants were encouraged by the message that she wanted to portray about her mandate. As such the ‘#RighttoAdequateHousing’ was a key focus of our conference in September with Ms Farhar presenting a video message too conference about what the ‘Right to Adequate housing’ means for all of us particularly the right to a decent home with fair and proportionate protection from eviction.
Central to the process of developing laws, policies and practices is the principle under Human Rights international law of non-discrimination, equality and non-retrogression. While many human rights challenges have focused on equality and disability few have used the argument of regression. This argument of non-regression was reinforced by Ms Farhar in her video presentation to the It’s Good To Rent conference, who stated that under international human rights law there is an obligation of ‘non-regression’, whereby signatories to the convention are not allowed under any circumstances to introduce, laws, policy’s or programmes that are regressive to the convention rights – “even in a situation of global economic crisis or austerity measures”. The presentation was a fascinating insight into the work of the SR and indeed the mandate.
On this day the 10th December many people and organisations have come together to celebrate #HumanRightsDay please do so with us and tweet your story of how housing has helped you.
A video presentation and discussions with Welsh Tenants gave a fascinating insight to the meaning and interpretation of convention rights including when devolved to sub-national government such as seen in our devolution context and even local housing authority levels. Click here to view Ms Farhars video
Further details about the mandate and Ms Farhar’s work can be obtained by contacting email@example.com