The human right to home
At Cyrenians we work with so many people who are living without privacy, in homes that are falling apart, or under other constant pressures that make living day to day exhausting or impossible. Without a home that feels safe, secure, and comfortable, and which meets your basic needs, it can be nearly impossible to build a solid foundation for the rest of your life.
That basic human right to live somewhere that meets our needs is something we should never lose sight of. Everyone has the right to the safe, stable and appropriate housing they need to flourish. For me it’s an expression fundamental of the Golden Rule; to treat others as we would want to be treated. That means not just those we know or like or are the same as us, but, difficult as it is to accept sometimes , everyone, even those we disagree with or those who see us as their enemy..
It can feel impossible to achieve; if even in a rich country like Scotland not everyone has adequate housing, how can we hope to see that right recognised everywhere? But the moment we say it’s ok for some not to have housing (or for that matter, any other inalienable human right) we say it’s ok for any of us to not have it. We cannot give up on anyone. That’s what human rights are – they represent something that’s not conditional, and that everyone, whoever they are and whatever their circumstances, deserves.
That’s why the concept of inalienable human rights is so important; it’s not just about the thing itself – housing, education, food, family life, self-determination, and so on - but also about what it is to be human, and how, when people are denied their rights, we are all diminished in our humanness. When rights are upheld or achieved for those who have had them denied, we are all more able to be fully human. They are a statement of the inalienable connection between all of humanity, whatever our circumstances or place in the world.