Welcome to our first newsletter posted to No-one Left Behind: the online platform for PPR’s growing network of human rights campaigns. A lot has happened in the new year and there’s plenty more to come!
Writing a #NewScript for Mental Health
On the 1st February there was wall to wall media coverage as veteran mental health campaigners joined practitioners, writers, community workers and a range of people with lived experience in The MAC Belfast for the launch of #NewScript for mental health.
Image caption: Launch of the New Script campaign at the MAC Belfast
This is a progressive and inclusive campaign to encourage conversations across society around what a better approach to mental health could look and feel like, and how to get there. The campaign is rooted in human rights and trauma-informed principles and informed by a decade of activism by mental health service users, carers, family members and others. It reflects not only the failings of current mental health policy and practice but also the breadth of lifesaving grass roots activity underway to help people heal.
If you are interested in getting more involved in the activities this year contact Sara Boyce
Take Back the City
On 3 March #TakeBacktheCity campaigners, which aims to build Belfast’s first climate resilient community on public land in North and West Belfast, went to an Opera all about them! No seriously, the campaigners are being celebrated in Nobody / Somebody, an opera inspired by the words of our founder, Inez McCormack, and the activism of powerful women from Belfast who are campaigning to provide safe homes for their kids.
On 16th February, in a case brought by yet another West Belfast family in housing need, the court heard arguments for a judicial review of Belfast City Council’s proposed development of the Mackie’s site as an urban greenway, to the exclusion of housing. Click here to learn more about the problematic history of Council’s activity at this site – and for an overview of the campaign’s timeline click here!
Remember, this is public land in an area of extreme poverty and housing demand, and councillors are elected to act in the public interest. Ask questions about their views on Mackie’s when they rap your doors ahead of council elections in May!
Meanwhile, our international design competition for the Mackie’s site has been a resounding success, delivering 11 world class options to help develop 25 acres of public land in North and West Belfast in support of the surrounding communities. Over 3,600 people have engaged online with the public consultation using our latest digital tool, while over 350 people have attended in-person events. It’s the way government should do consultation, but don’t. Voting closes on the 23rd March and we invite you to join us for the big reveal of the winner on the 27th May.
Watch this space and for more information contact Marissa McMahon
Image Caption: The launch of “Living Our Rights” report in Dublin
In other housing news – congratulations to the residents’ collective in Tallaght and Clondalkin, South Dublin, on the launch of their Living Our Rights report on the 30th January – click here to read. PPR worked alongside organisers and families in these communities in 2022 to share some of what we know about human rights monitoring.
For more information contact Aiden Lloyd.
Building a Kind Economy
On 22 February human rights monitors seeking asylum in the UK hosted a range of NI duty bearers to hear about actions they have taken to address key human rights concerns in ‘contingency’ hostel accommodation set up by the Home Office in NI hotels. Click here for a video news report (16min 45sec of the broadcast). This built on residents’ work in autumn 2022 to identify key issues, pull together a set of concrete recommendations for making things better, and present them to authorities.
Image caption: Kind Economy Campaigners: Christiana, Afaq, Twasul and Mohammed
Reports earlier this month indicated the Home Office is currently spending £6.8m/day on contingency asylum accommodation. Hotel owners are making record profits from the refugee crisis, but the depressing message we see repeated on the news seems to be racists protesting outside the temporary homes of people who have fled wars to seek safety. We know though that asylum seekers and refugees are not to blame for our broken economy and housing crisis – on the contrary, #KindEconomy and #LiftTheBan campaigners are full of energy and actions to bring people together, from art exhibitions to cooking and loads in between. Why don’t you join them?
For more information contact Twasul Mohammed
Keep up to Date with the Latest Policy Developments
None of our campaigns exist in a vacuum. We’re lucky to have some of the best policy and research minds around to help us get to the bottom of developments here in the north and further afield.
We regularly offer a short digest of policy developments around housing, asylum and mental health. Check out this month’s on the Investigations section of our website. And watch this space - we regularly make sense of an publish data on the state of human rights uncovered through Freedom of Information requests.
Feel free to get in touch! We can always be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org