Access to Justice for the Right to Housing
United Nations General Assembly Human Rights Council
By #UnequalCities Network member Leilani Farha

Abstract: In her report, prepared pursuant to Human Rights Council resolution 34/9, the Special Rapporteur examines the critical issue of access to justice for the right to housing. She suggests that the global housing crisis is rooted in a crisis in access to justice because without access to justice, housing is not properly recognized, understood or addressed as a human right. Millions who live in homelessness or unacceptable living conditions have no place where they can claim their right to housing when States have failed to progressively realize the right, imposed forced evictions, or criminalized those who live in homelessness or in informal housing. She argues that the outdated division of the right to housing into justiciable and non-justiciable components, negative and positive rights, must be firmly rejected. Ten key normative principles are identified which States must satisfy to ensure that all components of the right to housing are subject to effective remedies. The Special Rapporteur outlines how compliance with the obligation to progressively realize the right to housing is adjudicated; how forced evictions and criminalization must be prevented through access to justice and participation in decision-making; how national human rights institutions and informal justice systems should complement the role of courts; and how private actors are required to ensure access to justice for the realization of the right to housing.

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