UN Report: “Homelessness is a human rights crisis that demands an urgent global response”

The Global Initiative for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights welcomes the latest report from the Special Rapporteur on the right to adequate housing.  In this report, the Special Rapporteur takes a detailed examination of homelessness as a violation of the right to adequate housing, and offers concrete recommendations to States on how to prevent, end and remedy those violations.

According to the report: “Homelessness is a global human rights crisis that demands an urgent global response. It is occurring in all socioeconomic contexts — in developed, emerging and developing economies, in prosperity as well as in austerity. It is a diverse phenomenon, affecting different groups of people in different ways but with common features. It is symptomatic of the failure of governments to address growing inequalities in income, wealth and access to land and property and to effectively respond to the challenges of migration and urbanization. Homelessness occurs when housing is treated as a commodity rather than as a human right.”

This report is particularly important as it highlights how failure to abide by the obligation to fulfill social rights, in other words failure to take positive action to further social rights, amounts to human rights violations.  As a human rights violation, homelessness requires accountability and remedies to prevent and end homelessness.  As the Special Rapporteur makes clear, States have a number of immediate obligations they must take to remedy homelessness, as well as progressive measures aimed at fulfilling the right to adequate housing for all.

As the Special Rapporteur highlights, “Homelessness is an extreme violation of the rights to adequate housing and non-discrimination and often also a violation of the rights to life, to security of person, to health, to protection of the home and family and to freedom from cruel and inhuman treatment. However, it has not been addressed with the urgency and priority that ought to be accorded to so widespread and severe a violation of human rights.”

The full report can be found HERE.

*A Special Rapporteur is an independent expert appointed by the Human Rights Council to examine and report back on a country situation or a specific human rights theme.  Since June 2014, the Special Rapporteur on the right to housing is Leilani Farha.

“The right to housing is not just a rallying cry. It, like human rights more generally, offers concrete standards that can be implemented and measured for progress. The results can be transformative and can shift us away from charity toward social justice.”

For information on a Side Event to discuss this report see HERE.

Categories Uncategorized | Tags: | Posted on February 15, 2016

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