J4G Press Release – Response to annoucement of EHRC Independent Inquiry

The Justice 4 Grenfell campaign welcomes the intervention of the Equality and Human Rights Commission to run an Independent Inquiry into the Grenfell Fire.

J4G has consistently raised concerns that the State and the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea (RBKC) have failed in their duties to protect life and provide safe housing.

In our press release on 15th August, J4G made the following comments:

“It is disappointing that the question of social housing especially social cleansing/gentrification will not be addressed in the Inquiry as this remains a critical issue not just for the community of North Kensington but across the country and goes to the heart of a changing ideological approach to social housing and the pursuit of profit rather than provision of safe, affordable, appropriate and adequate housing”

The campaign’s application for Core Participation status has also like EHRC been refused along side many other communities, human rights and equality focused organisations. J4G’s application for core participation highlighted the different ways that the Inquiry needs to address State negligence of the communities in and around Grenfell. Issues of equality and human rights are paramount to the need for justice.

Given the appalling loss of life and suffering caused by the Grenfell Tower fire and the nationwide concern over the safety of tower blocks, J4G included in it’s core participation application that the following issues be included:

·         The competence, ability and willingness of public authorities to oversee, regulate and ensure safe housing nationally;

·         The competence, ability and willingness of public authorities to respond to large scale emergencies;

·         How communities (including residents) are listened to, specifically whether there is an effective response when communities/residents raise concerns to public authorities, local authorities, statutory agencies and bodies about matters that impact upon them.

Clarrie Mendy, a bereaved family member, founder of Relative Justice for Grenfell & co-founder of Humanity 4 Grenfell added,

‘To ignore human rights and additionally fundamentally refuse to listen to community voices who have lived/experienced in any Inquiry about Grenfell, is not only the height of disrespect to those who died but also an overt indication that the state and RBKC don’t care.’

She is also appealing to the government to adopt the charter for families bereaved through public tragedy as recommended by Bishop James Jones in his recent report “The Patronising Disposition of Unaccountable Power”.

J4G suggests that ‘Institutional Indifference’, a term coined by survivor Joe Delaney, to define the state and local authority response to the Grenfell Tower atrocity has been evident from 14th June – Or, put simply the term ‘Institutional Indifference’ implies that ‘they don’t want to find out what really happened, they don’t have to and more to the point, they don’t care!’

J4G will want to participate in the EHRC’s independent Inquiry but seek to be constructively critical and always remain independent and focused upon representing the collective concerns of the community.

 

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