Survey suggests 82% consider housing a 'human right'

Updated / Thursday, 10 Dec 2020 13:06

64% of people in the survey said the right to housing should be enshrined in the Constitution

By Ailbhe Conneely

Housing in Ireland needs to be viewed as a right and not a commodity, according to the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission.

A national survey carried out by the IHREC suggested that 82% of people in Ireland consider housing to be a basic human right.

The survey was carried out to mark Human Rights Day which is celebrated on 10 December annually.

On this day in 1948, the UN adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The declaration consists of 30 articles detailing an individual's "basic rights and fundamental freedoms" and is considered a foundational text in the history of human and civil rights.

The theme of Human Rights Day 2020 is "Recover Better".

It is focused on ensuring that recovery from Covid-19 focuses on combating inequality and advancing human rights.

A survey by Amárach on behalf of the IHREC sought the views of 1,200 people on human rights.

Asked if they believe human rights are important for creating a fairer society, the study reported almost 100% agreement from respondents.

Almost eight out of ten (79%) support Ireland's equality law changing to allow protection to people against discrimination due to status such as family background, home address, educational background or economic situation.

When asked about housing, 82% of those surveyed considered it to be a basic human right, which is the same figure as a 2018 poll that posed the same question.

Almost two thirds (64%) of people believe that the right to housing should be enshrined in the Constitution while 24% were against that proposal.

The IHREC Chief Commissioner said the survey showed that people are consistently looking at housing and accommodation as an area where a rights-based approach should be taken by the State.

Sinéad Gibney said Ireland needs to regard housing as a right and not a commodity.

"Housing represents more than just the costs of bricks and mortar, it's where our children grow, where our families gather, and where generations should feel safe and secure," she commented.