There are now at least 214,000 carers in Northern Ireland providing unpaid care through looking after frail, ill or disabled family members, partners or friends and an estimated 30,000 young carers carrying out a similar role. Research from the University of Leeds in 2011 put the economic value of unpaid care in Northern Ireland at £4.4 billion pounds.
The Report highlights that a number of human rights instruments can potentially impact on the role of caring from the right to an adequate standard of living and social security through to the right to meaningful participation and involvement when decisions are being taken which affect carers and the people being looked after. The research paper is designed to offer a practical approach by setting out the main human rights laws alongside key domestic legislative and policy provision.
A number of specific recommendations are made in the report which are designed to improve the support available to carers. The Commissioner Les Allamby stated in the report that a rights based framework is needed to ensure public services, and policies are developed which properly recognise, identify and support carers.
Commenting on the report a Carers Trust Northern Ireland spokesperson said: "We at Carers Trust in Northern Ireland very much welcome the findings and recommendations contained in the Commissioners report and are keen to work with the Human Rights Commission in Northern Ireland to ensure that adequate recognition is given to ensure that carers do not experience human rights violation as a result of their caring roles. At long last the needs of carers are being recognised and their valuable contribution to society is being highlighted."