Right to an Adequate Standard of Living

The right to an adequate standard of living protects a number of rights:

It is central to each individual’s ability to live a dignified life and to be free from poverty or destitution. The Departments and NICS must ensure that their laws, policies and actions do not restrict or prevent individuals from accessing this right. As an economic, social and cultural right, Government must also progressively improve individuals’ enjoyment of their right to an adequate standard of living by using its maximum available resources. In connection with this, it is important that the Departments and NICS adopt policies and national action plans that show how this right is guaranteed in Northern Ireland.

The right to food requires Government to ensure that there is sufficient, adequate and good quality food available and that it is accessible to everyone without discrimination. Similarly, individuals must have access to sufficient, safe and affordable water for personal and domestic use. Shelter does not refer to having a roof over one’s head, but is each individual’s right to adequate housing. This includes legal security of tenure, the availability of services, materials, facilities and infrastructure, as well as habitability. Government must also ensure that housing is affordable and accessible to all, in particular disadvantaged groups; it must also be culturally adequate and the location suitable. In this sense, to ensure the right to an adequate standard of living for all, Government must take into account a range of elements that impact this right, such as the provision of electricity, sanitation, transport and communications, as well as be aware of the barriers that certain marginalised or vulnerable groups might face.