Mark Whitehead 11 December 2017

Human rights watchdog launches Grenfell fire inquiry

The harm suffered by those who survived or witnessed the Grenfell Tower fire may constitute ‘inhumane and degrading treatment’, according to human rights watchdogs.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission has launched a review of the tragedy earlier this year in which 71 people died to 'determine if the State is fulfilling its duties under human rights and equality law'.

The review, titled Following Grenfell, will focus on seven key areas including how the disaster is being investigated, whether the safety of the tower block's residents was ensured and whether victims have been able to access appropriate legal advice.

It will also ask whether any policies and practices disadvantaged particular groups such as disabled people or the elderly.

The commission's chair David Isaac said: '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.'

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