UN-Habitat supports the efforts of national and local governments, civil society groups, and national human rights institutions (NHRI) in realising the Human Right to Adequate Housing.

More than 1.8 billion people worldwide lack adequate housing. Every year 2 million people are forcibly evicted, many more are threatened with evictions and some 150 million people worldwide are homeless.

Adequate housing is a human right enshrined in international human rights law. Failing to recognise, protect, and fulfil the Right to Adequate Housing results in the violation of a plethora of fundamental rights including the Right to Work, Education, Health, and Security.

 

"Losing Your Home" is an important and long overdue book, which I warmly welcome and recommend to the worldwide readership that it addresses and fully deserves. This book offers us a fresh and compelling look at one of the global and still unheralded enough crisis of our times: the increasing eviction and displacement of large numbers of people – no less than tens of millions every year – who are uprooted from their houses mostly without receiving the support they need for rebuilding their lives from society as a whole. House displacement, which much too often results in homelessness or slum dwelling, is a paradoxical result of many legitimate development projects that need a footprint but nonetheless do not care enough to resettle and re-house the people they displace; it is also a result of the bigger tragedies inflicted by destructive conflicts.

Michael M. Cernea,Brookings Institution NR Senior Fellow, Washington DC and Research Professor of Anthropology and International Affairs, GWU

UN-Habitat in partnership with OHCHR and other stakeholders has successfully avoided evictions in
28
countries and assisted 16 regional and country offices in engaging with United Nation Human Rights Mechanisms, including the Universal Periodic Review.
UN-Habitat has produced
18
publications on the Right to Adequate Housing including prevention of forced evictions.
UN-Habitat provided technical advice to
42
governments on how to conduct a comprehensive in-depth analysis of the urban housing sector and how to create a framework that enables the provision of adequate housing for all.
Every year two million people are forcibly evicted and many more are threatened with evictions. This means people being uprooted from their houses and their networks, mostly without receiving the support they need for rebuilding their lives. This video explains what forced evictions are, their negative consequences and how they can be prevented.
In the wake of the decade of action, ten years to transform our world, UN-Habitat has launched an animated short reiterating that housing is #NotJustARoof. Adequate housing is a human right, a catalyst for social and economic growth and a precondition for the realisation of many fundamental rights.
PUSH is a new documentary from award-winning director Fredrik Gertten, investigating multiple drivers that lead to violations of the human right to adequate housing. Jointly with The Shift, UN-Habitat facilitated the screening of “PUSH” in New York, Brussels, and Nairobi.

Related Sustainable Development Goals

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Leaving no one and no place behind

Hover over or click the icons to learn about UN-Habitat's work on social inclusion here.

UN-Habitat’s focus on housing rights contributes directly to the progressive realisation of the Right to Adequate Housing enshrined in international human rights law including Article 25(1) of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and Article 11 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR). UN-Habitat promotes the shift from a commodity-based to a human rights-based approach to housing in its activities and projects by placing people at the centre of urban and territorial development.

Through these lens, UN-Habitat has been focusing on people in the most vulnerable situations by promoting participatory processes that unlock approaches based on local needs and assets, and make them an active part of the solution.

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UN-Habitat’s efforts on the Right to Adequate Housing support the realisation SDG 5 on gender equality. In particular, UN-Habitat strongly supports and provides solutions for tenure security and access to housing rights for women, who face discrimination in accessing property rights.

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Forced evictions are particularly traumatising for children, as housing plays a crucial role in a child’s development. During evictions, children often lose access to schools and health care. Forced evictions also increase the risk of family separation, exposing children to further trauma and abuses. Children are afforded special consideration before, during and after evictions and resettlements within UN-Habitat’s Housing Rights activities portfolio.

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Sustainable urban development can only be achieved if persons with disabilities are included in decision-making and are able to enjoy their rights. To this end, UN-Habitat partners with representative groups and individual rights holders, as well as national and local governments, relevant UN bodies and civil society to maximise impact and to ensure that the Right to Adequate Housing of persons with disabilities are promoted, respected and protected.

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Donors and partners

UN-Habitat and OHCHR jointly launched the United Nations Housing Rights Program (UNHRP) in 2002. The overall goal of this initiative, launched and championed by the Executive Director of UN-Habitat and the High Commissioner on Human Rights, is to support governments, the civil society and National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs) in their work on the advancement of the right to adequate housing. Under this programme, UN-Habitat supports the UN human rights mechanisms such as the Universal Periodic Review (UPR). Other joint activities include normative tools development and technical assistance for the States and other stakeholders in building and improving technical capacities for implementation and monitoring of housing rights. On the same topic UN-Habitat also works collaborate with UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Adequate Housing, particularly on the work of forced evictions prevention and housing rights advocacy.

Our Experts

Christophe Lalande
Housing Lead Specialist
Land, Housing & Shelter Section, Urban Practices Branch, Global Solutions Division
christophe.lalande@un.org
NOF, Block 3, Level 1, United Nations Nairobi Office (UNON), Nairobi, Kenya