Right to housing

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The right to housing is the economic, social and cultural right to adequate housing and shelter. It is recognised in many national constitutions and in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

Definition

The right to housing is recognised in a number of international human rights instruments. Article 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights recognises the right to housing as part of the right to an adequate standard of living. It states that:

"Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of 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 in circumstances beyond his control.{{Cquote|Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of 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 in circumstances beyond his control."

Article 11(1) of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) also guarantees the right to housing as part of the right to an adequate standard of living.

In international human rights law the right to housing is regarded as a freestanding right. This was clarified in the 1991 General Comment no 4 on Adequate Housing by the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. The general comment provides an authoritative interpretation of the right to housing in legal terms under international law.

As a political goal, right to housing was declared in President F. D. Roosevelt's 1944 speech on the Second Bill of Rights.
 

UN Habitat

 

Critiques

Ellickson, Robert C., "The Untenable Case for an Unconditional Right to Shelter" (1992). Faculty Scholarship Series. Paper 459. http://digitalcommons.law.yale.edu/fss_papers/459

 

References