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Homeless Londoners 'denied basic human rights'

Hundreds of street homeless people across the country are being denied the basic human rights of access to shelter, drinking water, sanitation and food, according to a coalition of housing and human rights groups.

Last month Simon Hughes MP hosted a launch event at the House of Commons for the UK Commons Rights Project's film.

In the short film – which features many scenes shot around Tower Bridge Road, Bricklayers Arms and Bermondsey Street – Londoners with experience of street homelessness tell their personal stories about the daily struggle to eat, find washing and toilet facilities and a bed for the night

Film participant Paul explained how this affects him every day: "You wake up in the morning and you think: 'Now where am I going to go to the toilet? Where am I going to get some water?' It's a constant daily thing. You become so tired by the end of the day just because the basic things are constantly travelling around your mind."

The UK Common Rights Project is led by Southwark-based Christian campaign group Housing Justice and the film features users of the Manna Centre near London Bridge.

UKCRP aims to raise public awareness about the importance of the basic rights to shelter, food, drinking water and sanitation.

An initial two working groups in Southwark and Islington representing local people will come up with innovative and practical solutions.

It is also planned to show the film at the 2014 Human Rights Watch Film Festival.

"I believe passionately that the right to shelter underpins everything that Housing Justice does in our work with homeless people," said Housing Justice chief executive Alison Gelder.

"This campaign is an opportunity for Housing Justice to give a voice to the people whose rights are being denied and to make a difference to their lives."

The UK Common Rights Project is a collaboration between Housing Justice, Open Cinema, which makes films for social and environmental issue groups, and magazine for homeless people The Pavement.

Christoph Warrack of Open Cinema said: "The Common Rights Project has been an opportunity for Open Cinema to work with great partners and participants to crystallise on film the clash of human rights and real lives on the streets of Britain.

"We hope it serves to empower and protect those who are vulnerable and poor whose rights are threatened, and to dispel uncertainty in society as to entitlements and obligations that law has won for them."

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