Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC)
Watchdog confirms Grenfell breached human rights laws
Local authorities and public services failed their human rights obligations to protect life and provide safe housing, we have confirmed in a report submitted to the Grenfell Tower Inquiry.
The Following Grenfell report states residents’ right to life and right to adequate housing were breached before the fire started on 14 June 2017.
It highlights authorities were presented with evidence the cladding was unsafe but failed to take action to prevent the loss of 72 lives.
Not banning the cladding at the time, or strengthening rules for its use in the UK, breached residents’ right to life under Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights. This is a fault the Equality and Human Rights Commission says "lies with the authorities".
More than 300 high-rise buildings in the UK continue to be wrapped in the now banned combustible cladding, suggesting the failure to protect lives and violation of Article 2 continues.
The safety of wheelchair users, elderly and disabled people were further overlooked when vulnerable residents were housed on the top floors of the high-rise building.
We have said this was a breach of their right to adequate housing, which is internationally recognised by the UN in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and in the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.
Evidence has emerged that the safety notice was only given to residents in English, a language not spoken by many Grenfell residents. ‘Following Grenfell’ concludes this was a fundamental failure by the authorities to meet victims’ needs and protect their right to life.
Residents’ concerns about their ability to fully participate in the official inquiry have been raised during the length of the project.
It is vital that those affected by the fire have the opportunity to present their views; issues raised include concerns about the accessibility of the original venue, and the ability to put questions to witnesses. The Grenfell Inquiry is urged to take note and respond to these concerns as it starts the next phase.
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