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The right to adequate housing for Indigenous Peoples

In October 2019 the Special Rapporteur on the right to adequate housing presented a thematic report on the right to adequate housing for Indigenous Peoples to the General Assembly (A/74/183). The report contains guidance for States, indigenous authorities and other actors on how to ensure that their obligations under international human rights law regarding the right to housing are met in conformity with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

The report finds that housing conditions for indigenous peoples around the world are overwhelmingly abhorrent and too often violate the right to adequate housing, depriving them of their right to live in security and dignity.

Indigenous peoples face significant barriers to their enjoyment of the right to housing compared with non-indigenous peoples. They are more likely to suffer inadequate housing and negative health outcomes as a result, they have disproportionately high rates of homelessness and they are extremely vulnerable to forced evictions, land-grabbing and the effects of climate change. When they defend their rights, they are often the targets of extreme violence.

The report asserts that the right to housing of indigenous peoples must be interpreted in a manner that recognizes the interdependence and indivisibility of the right to housing as articulated in international human rights law and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The meaning and application of the right to housing must therefore integrate the right to self-determination, the principle of free, prior and informed consent, the right to land, territories and resources, and access to justice.

The Special Rapporteur argues that the adequacy of housing must be defined and determined by indigenous peoples themselves. She also asserts that human rights claims framed using the Declaration will be strengthened if the accountability mechanisms and the legal obligations attached to the right to housing are deployed.  She concludes with a set of recommendations to guide States, indigenous authorities and other actors in ensuring that indigenous peoples can live in peace, security and dignity and enjoy the right to adequate housing without discrimination.

In developing the report the Special Rapporteur invited States, Indigenous Authorities, international and regional organizations, national judicial institutions, National Human Rights Institutions, Indigenous Peoples’ and civil society organizations, and other stakeholders to share relevant information. The submissions received are published below:

submissions received

States

Indigenous Peoples and Civil Society Organizations

Related Publication:

OHCHR / UN-HABITAT: Indigenous peoples’ right to adequate housing – A Global Overview, 2005