Realizing the right to adequate housing is a pre-requisite for achieving an equitable city!
International human rights law recognizes everyone’s right to an adequate standard of living, including adequate housing. Despite the central place of this right within the global legal system, well over a billion people are not adequately housed. Millions around the world live in life- or healththreatening conditions, in overcrowded slums and informal settlements, or in other conditions which do not uphold their human rights and their dignity. Further millions are forcibly evicted, or threatened with forced eviction, from their homes every year.
Adequate housing was recognized as part of the right to an adequate standard of living in the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights and in the 1966 International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. Other international human rights treaties have since recognized or referred to the right to adequate housing or some elements of it, such as the protection of one’s home and privacy.
The right to adequate housing is relevant to all States, as they have all ratified at least one international treaty referring to adequate housing and committed themselves to protecting the right to adequate housing through international declarations, plans of action or conference outcome documents. Several constitutions protect the right to adequate housing or outline the State’s general responsibility to ensure adequate housing and living conditions for all. Courts from various legal systems have also adjudicated cases related to its enjoyment, covering, for instance, forced evictions, tenant protection, discrimination in the housing sphere or access to basic housing-related services.
The right to adequate housing contains freedoms. These freedoms include:
- Protection against forced evictions and the arbitrary destruction and demolition of one’s home;
- The right to be free from arbitrary interference with one’s home, privacy and family; and
- The right to choose one’s residence, to determine where to live and to freedom of movement.
• The right to adequate housing contains entitlements. These entitlements include:
- Security of tenure;
- Housing, land and property restitution;
- Equal and non-discriminatory access to adequate housing;
- Participation in housing-related decision-making at the national and community levels.
Here is a link to the OHCHR/UN-Habitat Factsheet 21 on the Right to Adequate Housing: http://www.ohchr.org/Documents/Publications/FS21_rev_1_Housing_en.pdf
In your views and experiences, how is this human right to adequate housing being upheld/violated where you come from, or where you live?