The UN Special Rapporteur on the right to adequate housing, Raquel Rolnik, presented her new thematic report to the UN Human Rights Council on 4 March 2012.
The Global Initiative for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights prepared a Research Paper on Security of Tenure: Legal and Judicial Aspects for the Special Rapporteur and participated in an Expert Group Meeting held in Geneva in October 2012. The Research Paper helped inform the Special Rapporteur’s report.
In the report, the Special Rapporteur elaborates upon the concept of security of tenure as a component of the right to adequate housing. The backdrop is one of a global tenure insecurity crisis, manifesting itself in many forms and contexts — forced evictions, displacement resulting from development, natural disasters and conflicts and land grabbing — and evident in the millions of urban dwellers living under insecure tenure arrangements.
The Special Rapporteur discussed existing guidance under international human rights law and raised questions regarding the precise State obligations with respect to ensuring security of tenure. She examined the wide range of existing tenure arrangements, and the prevalent focus in policy and practice on one form of tenure: individual freehold. The Special Rapporteur also discussed selected operational and policy challenges pertaining to securing tenure. She concluded by underscoring the need for more specific and comprehensive human rights and operational guidance on security of tenure.
According the the Global Initiative’s Research Paper: “Differing forms of security of tenure across the continuum of tenure types provide varying degrees of security, with this variance often correlated to property or socio-economic status. Guidelines on security of tenure should address this issue of non-discrimination on account of property or other status. Specifically, how can States ensure that all members of society, regardless of property or socio-economic status, enjoy security of tenure on the basis of non-discrimination and equal protection of the law? The solution may require a paradigm shift from correlating security of tenure with a property rights regime to grounding security of tenure solidly in the human rights framework.”
More information on the Special Rapporteur’s Security of Tenure Project, as well as copies of her report, can be found HERE.