The Elements of Adequate Housing: Grenfell as Violation

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Queen Mary Human Rights Law Review, 2019, 5 (2), pp. 1 - 15
Issue Date:
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This paper considers the Grenfell Tower fire as a breach of the right to housing by the UK, in contravention of its obligations under international law. I examine how the fire, the underlying housing conditions that at least in part led to it, and the government’s response, breach the elements of the right to housing under the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. I concentrate on the requirements that housing must be habitable, accessible – particularly for disadvantaged groups – and in an adequate and safe location. In a close analysis of the international legal standards, I clarify the ways the UK breached the right to housing, and how those international legal standards point to its inadequate actions and response for the survivors and victims. In concluding, I suggest that although the government is likely to resist the right to housing, it remains a powerful political tool to demonstrate the government’s lack of care of its people, and its overall legal and policy shortcomings as made strikingly clear by the Grenfell Tower fire.
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