International Laws and Guidelines

International Laws and Guidelines

Definition of forced eviction; violation of human rights permalink

  • OHCHR: Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) Article 25(1)

    “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”

  • UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR): International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) – ratified by India in 1976

    “The States Parties to the present Covenant 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. The States Parties will take appropriate steps to ensure the realization of this right, recognizing to this effect the essential importance of international cooperation based on free consent.”

  • United Nations Commission on Human Rights (OHCHR): Resolutions 1993/77

    “The practice of forced eviction constitutes a gross violation of human rights, in particular the right to adequate housing”

  • UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR): General Comment No. 4 The right to adequate housing(1991); E/1992/23

Paragraph 8: seven factors “which must be taken into account in determining whether particular forms of shelter can be considered to constitute adequate housing’ ”

a) Legal security of tenure

b) Availability of services, facilities, and infrastructure

c) Affordability

d) Habitability

e) Accessibility

f) Location

g) Cultural adequacy

  • United Nations Commission on Human Rights (OHCHR**): Fact sheet No. 21: The Right to Adequate Housing** (1997; Rev. 1. 2009)

    “Protection against forced evictions is a key element of the right to adequate housing…”

  • UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR): **General Comment No. 7: The right to adequate housing (Art.11.1): forced evictions (1997); ** E/1998/22

    “permanent or temporary removal against the will of individuals, families and/or communities from the homes and/or land which they occupy, without the provision of, and access to, appropriate forms of legal or other protection.”

    “…it is clear that legislation against forced evictions is an essential basis upon which to build a system of effective protection” thereby the “state itself must refrain from forced evictions and ensure that the law is enforced against its agents or third parties who carry out forced evictions”

  • United Nations Commission on Human Rights (OHCHR**): Fact sheet No. 25: Forced Evictions **(1996; Rev. 1 2014)

    “In many places, expropriations and evictions are carried out without genuine justification. ‘Public interest’, ‘general welfare’, ‘public welfare’, ‘public good’, ‘State interest’, ‘national interest’, ‘common well-being’ or ‘serving the public good’ have been commonly used to justify expropriations and evictions.”

    “Evictions should never be carried out in a discriminatory manner or render someone homeless or vulnerable to other human rights violations.”

    “Mechanisms of accountability are crucial for ensuring that States abide by their obligations in relation to the prohibition on forced eviction. Monitoring takes place at national, regional and international levels, and involves a variety of actors, such as the State itself, NGOs, national human rights institutions (NHRIs) and international human rights mechanisms. While these mechanisms are important and useful to have real human rights impact on the ground, the role of civil society cannot be understated. These mechanisms are most effective when civil society and the affected communities engage with them and thereby leverage their power to bring about positive change at the local level.”

Guidelines permalink



  • Langford, M. & Plessis, du J. (2006) Dignity in the Rubble? Forced Evictions and Human

Rights Law: Annex: Guidelines for the prevention and remedy of forced evictions

Impact Assessment permalink