Human rights commission to launch own Grenfell inquiry

Image of the Grenfell Tower fire courtesy of Natalie Oxford via Twitter
Image of the Grenfell Tower fire courtesy of Natalie Oxford via Twitter

The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) has launched a new project to examine the human rights and equality dimensions of the Grenfell Tower fire after its application to participate in the official inquiry was declined.

The commission’s Following Grenfell project will attempt to determine if the State is fulfilling its duties under human rights and equality law, but will not “replicate the work of the official Grenfell Tower Inquiry”.

The work is being led by the commission’s legal team, with Karon Monaghan QC and Jason Pobjoy providing expert legal advice.

David Isaac, chair of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, said: “The Grenfell Tower fire has become a symbol of the inequality that exists in our country. Seventy-one people tragically lost their lives, as well as the many people who lost their homes, possessions, families and loved ones. The first duty of the State is to protect the lives of its citizens and lessons must be learnt to avoid this happening again.

“From the right to life to the duty to provide adequate housing, there are several areas where the State fell short in its duties to its citizens and these must be properly addressed.

“The official public inquiry is rightly looking at the building, fire and safety measures, property management and the events of the fire itself, but we believe our expertise in equality and human rights laws is essential in determining the extent to which the State failed, not only the residents of Grenfell Tower, but also those who witnessed the fire and have endured harm, physically or emotionally, as a result of it.”

Work on the project is expected to last until April 2018, with regular updates on its progress published on a dedicated website.

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