Read the following statement released by Luke D. Graham* on behalf of the Right to Clothing Campaign:
The right to adequate clothing is a forgotten right which has received little attention from the CESCR or the human rights community.1 At the same time as the right to adequate clothing is overlooked, so too is the issue of lack of access to adequate clothing. In fact, clothing is not mentioned in the CESCR’s 6th periodic report for the UK and clothing (‘clothes’) is only mentioned in relation to clean clothes in Alston’s 2019 report.2 Whilst other deprivations, notably food deprivations, are highly publicised and visible in the UK public consciousness the same is not true of clothing deprivation: only the issue of school uniforms has received any meaningful attention.3 The CESCR has also addressed the issue of school clothing and uniforms however this has not been through the lens of the right to adequate clothing.4It should address this issue explicitly through the lens of the right to adequate clothing in this review.
More so, the Right to Clothing Campaign is partly formed of a Right to Clothing Network. This Network brings together a range of civil society organisations who are providing (often used) clothing to the clothing deprived. The charitable service provided by this Network’s members demonstrates that there are widespread barriers to accessing clothing in the UK. The CESCR should request information from the UK Government as to what measures it is taking toward the realisation of the right to adequate clothing.
* Dr Luke D. Graham is a Lecturer in Public Law and Human Rights at the University of Manchester. Alongside Sharewear UK and the Peace & Justice Project, he is a co-founder of the Right to Clothing Campaign which brings together charities providing clothing charity in the UK.
1 Matthew CR Craven, The International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights: A Perspective on Its Development (Clarendon Press 1995) 349; Stephen James, ‘A Forgotten Right? The Right to Adequate Clothing in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights’ in Robert Garbutt (ed), Activating Human Rights and Peace: Universal Responsibility Conference 2008 Conference Proceedings (Centre for Peace and Social Justice 2010); Ben Saul and others, The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights: Commentary, Cases, and Materials (OUP 2014) 925; Luke D Graham, ‘The Right to Clothing and Personal Protective Equipment in the Context of COVID-19’ (2022) 26 The International Journal of Human Rights 30, 31–32; Luke D Graham, International Human Rights Law and Destitution: An Economic, Social and Cultural Rights Perspective (Routledge 2022) 58–61, 104–105. 2 Philip Alston, ‘Report of the Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights: Visit to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland’ (2019) UN.Doc.A/HRC/41/39/Add.1 para.31. 3 Sam Royston and Rebecca Jacques, ‘The Wrong Blazer 2018: Time for Action on School Uniform Costs’ (The Children’s Society 2018) <https://www.childrenssociety.org.uk/sites/default/files/the-wrong-blazer-report-full compressed_0.pdf> accessed 6 September 2020; BBC News, ‘Schools Told “Cut Excessive Uniform Costs”’ (12 July 2018) <https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-44804197> accessed 6 September 2019; BBC News, ‘New Guidance Promised on Branded School Uniforms’ (5 September 2019) <https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk england-49591950> accessed 6 September 2019.
4 CESCR, ‘Concluding Observations of the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights: Ireland’ (2015) UN.Doc. E/C.12/IRL/CO/3 at para. 31(c).
Also, remember to join us online or in Manchester on Wednesday 22nd September, as we launch our Right to Clothing campaign. Save your place here.