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The Human Right to Freedom From Forced Eviction
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Human Rights & Freedom from Forced Eviction | Governments' Obligations | Governments' Commitments

Human Rights and Freedom from Forced Eviction

What is the Human Right to Freedom from Forced Eviction?

The practice of forced eviction -- the involuntary removal of persons, families and groups from their homes and communities -- exacerbates global problems of inadequate housing and homelessness. Forced evictions are human rights violations! Reinforcing the right to housing and freedom from forced evictions are universal human rights standards defined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, CEDAW, the International Covenants and other widely adhered to international human rights treaties and Declarations -- powerful tools that must be put to use in realizing the human right to freedom from forced evictions!

The Human Rights at Issue

The human right of all persons to freedom from forced evictions includes:

  • The human right to adequate housing.

  • The human right to an adequate standard of living.

  • The human right to security, including enforceable legal security of tenure.

  • The human right to protection from forced evictions and the destruction and/or demolition of onešs home including in situations of military occupation, international and civil armed conflict, establishment and construction of alien settlements, population transfer, development projects and international events.

  • The human right to freedom of expression.

  • The human right to freedom of association.

  • The human right to education and access to information.

  • The human right to participate in public decision-making.

  • The human right to freedom from discrimination based on sex, race, or any other status.

  • The human right to equal protection of the law and to judicial remedy in case of violation of the right to protection from forced eviction.

  • The human right to choose one's residence, to determine where and how to live, and to freedom of movement.

  • The human right to livelihood and land.

  • The human right to freedom from arbitrary interference with one's privacy.

  • The human right to access to safe drinking water and sanitation.

  • The human right to the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health.

  • The human right to a safe and healthy environment.

  • The human right to access to resources, including energy for cooking, heating, and lighting.

  • The human right of access to basic services, schools, transportation and employment options.

  • The human right of the child to an environment appropriate for physical and mental development.


Human Rights & Freedom from Forced Eviction | Governments' Obligations | Governments' Commitments

Governments' Obligations to Ensuring the Human Right to Freedom from Forced Eviction

What provisions of human rights law guarantee everyone the Human Right to Freedom from Forced Eviction?

Includes excerpts from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, and the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

"Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood...."
-- Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 25

"The States Parties ... recognize the right of everyone to an adequate standard of living for himself and his family, including adequate food, clothing and housing, and to the continuous improvement of living conditions...."
-- International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, Article 11

"Everyone shall have the right to freedom of association .... All persons are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to the equal protection of the law...."
-- International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Articles 22 and 26

"Everyone shall have the right to freedom of association .... All persons are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to the equal protection of the law...."
-- International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Articles 22 and 26

"States Parties shall take all appropriate measures to eliminate discrimination against women in rural areas ... to ensure ... the right ... to enjoy adequate living conditions, particularly in relation to housing, sanitation, electricity and water supply, transport and communications...."
-- Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, Article 14

"States Parties undertake to prohibit and to eliminate racial discrimination ... and to guarantee the right of everyone, without distinction as to race, colour, or national or ethnic origin, to equality before the law, ... in the enjoyment of ... the right to housing...."
-- Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, Article 5

"States Parties recognize the right of every child to a standard of living adequate for the childšs physical, mental, spiritual, moral and social development.... States Parties ... shall take appropriate measures to assist parents and others responsible for the child to implement this right and shall in case of need provide material assistance and support ..., particularly with regard to nutrition, clothing and housing."
-- Convention on the Rights of the Child, Article 27


Human Rights & Freedom from Forced Eviction | Governments' Obligations | Governments' Commitments

Governments' Commitments to Ensuring the Human Right to Freedom from Forced Eviction

What commitments have governments made to ensuring the realization of the Human Right to Freedom from Forced Eviction for all?

Includes commitments made at the Habitat II conference in Istanbul and the Earth Summit in Rio, and excerpts from the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, General Comment No. 4, the UN Commission on Human Rights, Resolution 1993/77, and the UN Sub-Commission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities, Resolution 1991/12.

"We ... commit ourselves to the objectives of:... Protecting all people from and providing legal protection and redress for forced evictions that are contrary to the law, taking human rights into consideration; when evictions are unavoidable, ensuring, as appropriate, that alternative suitable solutions are provided...."
-- Habitat Agenda, para. 40

"Access to safe and healthy shelter is essential to a person's physical, psychological, social and economic well-being and should be a fundamental part of national and international action.... People should be protected by law against unfair eviction from their homes or land...."
-- Agenda 21, Chapter 7, paras. 6 and 9

"...forced evictions are ... incompatible with the requirements of the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights and could only be justified in the most exceptional circumstances...."
-- UN Committee on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights, General Comment No. 4,(1991)

"... the practice of forced eviction involves the involuntary removal of persons, families and groups from their homes and communities, resulting in increased levels of homelessness and in inadequate housing and living conditions,... [The Commission on Human Rights] Affirms that the practice ... constitutes a gross violation of human rights, in particular the right to adequate housing; Urges Governments to undertake immediate measures ... aimed at eliminating ... of forced evictions;... Urges Governments to confer legal security of tenure to all persons currently threatened with forced eviction and to adopt all necessary measures giving full protection against forced evictions.... Recommends that all Governments provide immediate restitution, compensation and/or appropriate and sufficient alternative accommodation or land ... to persons and communities which have been forcibly evicted...."
-- UN Commission on Human Rights, Resolution 1993/77

"The practice of forced eviction ... [results] in the destruction of the lives and identities of people throughout the world, as well as increasing homelessness,... Discrimination based on race, ethnic origin, nationality, gender and social, economic and other status is often the actual motive behind many forced evictions,... Misguided development policies can result in mass forced evictions.... The practice of forced evictions constitutes a gross violation of human rights, in particular the right to adequate housing...."
-- UN Sub-Commission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities, Resolution 1991/12


For more information, please contact PDHRE

The People's Movement for Human Rights Education (PDHRE) / NY Office
Shulamith Koenig / Executive Director
526 West 111th Street, New York, NY 10025
tel: 212.749-3156; fax: 212.666-6325;
e-mail: pdhre@igc.org