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International Day for the Eradication of Poverty.

 

EVERYONE HAS THE RIGHT TO HOUSING : Leave no one behind!

STRASBOURG 17 OCTOBER 2018

To celebrate the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty (17 October 2018), the Conference of INGOs of the Council of Europe held a working session on Article 31 of the European Social Charter which states that everyone has the right to housing. We know that this fundamental right is far from being achieved in many member states of the Council of Europe.

This is therefore why access to housing is of concern not only to us and policy makers, social workers and landlords… but above all, those who have a right to housing, irrespective of age and family status including young people, single mothers and children. The lack of respect for the right to housing has serious impact on the health of those concerned, on their access to the labour market, education, protection, privacy and autonomy. In other words, it impedes them from living a dignified life. Article 31 is therefore a cornerstone, the respect of which guarantees the fundamental rights laid down in the European Social Charter.

The working session is organized by the transversal working group “Poverty”, coordinated by the Vice-Chair of the Human Rights Committee, Miguel Cabral de Pinho. We had the opportunity to exchange points of view to build a vision of the constraints and progress made and to propose courses of action to all the actors concerned.

The meeting took place on 17 October 2018, from 9 am to 1 pm in room 3 of the Council of Europe Palais.

It is the goal of our organizations is to give voice to and share the stories of those who have lived or currently live in poor housing; who do not have access to housing or who have precarious housing.

So, we heard ATD4World (Spain), “Médecins du Monde” (France), Caritas Luxemburg, a special witness on collective complaints, as 14 States only approved art 31of the Charter. The work of FEANTSEAT (www.feantsa.org), and two more from Alsace: Caritas ”4walls and a roof” and a female physician in Haguenau, who explained her work with Roma Families Housing.

Others in the group shared on how to be efficient and the last woman to speak was a person living on the margins, telling us how difficult it was to live with so little income.

At the end of the meeting, we stood up and read together the citation (text on the photo), which is on a plaque here in Strasbourg, in front of the Council of Europe Building.

Marie Hélène Halligon.