Annual thematic reports of the Special Rapporteur on adequate housing


Year and session

Title and summary

Links to reports, statements, summaries

2021
76th session of the General Assembly
Discrimination in the context of housing

The report highlights that discrimination in housing is a global problem and continues to be one of the most pervasive and persistent barriers to the fulfillment of the right to adequate housing. Housing discrimination includes discriminatory access to private and public housing, to building land, housing for rental, mortgages and credit and inheritance, ensuring equal security or tenure, protection against evictions, habitability, equal and affordable access to public services, such as water and sanitation, energy, public transport and others. The report sets out the human rights obligations of States, public authorities, regional and local Governments, public and private housing providers to ensure non-discrimination in housing. It provides an overview how public authorities can work towards elimination of housing discrimination through regulation and anti-discrimination legislation, and ensure that victims of housing discrimination have access to justice and remedies through judicial and non-judicial mechanisms.
A/76/408 (Advance Unedited Version)

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2021
47th session of the Human Rights Council
20 years Special Rapporteur on the right to adequate housing: taking stock – moving forward

The report undertakes and assessment of the achievements and contributions made by the Special Rapporteur at local, country and global level since the establishment of the mandate and makes some recommendations how to further enhance the working methods of the mandate, including through use of virtual meetings for more inclusive consultations and human rights advocacy including with Goverment officials working at national and local level. The Special Rapporteur lists seven priorities that will guide his work: (1) The impact of COVID-19 pandemic on the right to adequate housing; (2) discrimination and spatial segregation; (3) climate change and rights-compliant resilient housing; (4) conflict, displacement, and the humanitarian response to housing; (5) the development of guidelines on resettlement and relocation; (6) land governance, eminent domain, and solidarity economy; and (7) the role of public and private actors in ensuring affordable and accessible housing.
A/47/43

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Summary
English | Français | Español

Oral Statement
2020
75th session of the General Assembly
COVID-19 and the right to adequate housing

The report highlights the importance of housing adequacy to ensure protection against COVID-19 and analyses measures taken to prevent and stop evictions of tenants and homeowners during the pandemic and to protect various groups at risk of marginalization. The report concludes with medium and long term recommendations to protect during and after the crisis the right to adequate housing for all, to end homelessness and to address widespread lack of security of tenure, housing unaffordability and inadequacy.
A/75/148

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Summary with key recommendations
2020
HRC 43rd session
Guidelines for the implementation of the right to adequate housing

The Guidelines provide States with a set of implementation measures in key areas of concern, including homelessness and the unaffordability of housing, migration, evictions, climate change, the upgrading of informal settlements, inequality and the regulation of businesses. All of the implementation measures are informed by the urgent need to reclaim housing as a fundamental human right.
A/HRC/43/43

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Infographic
2019
74rd session of the General Assembly
The right to housing for indigenous peoples

The Special Rapporteur 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. 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.
A/74/183

2019
HRC 40th session
Access to justice for the right to housing

Without access to justice, housing is not properly recognized, understood or addressed as a human right. Millions who live in homelessness or unacceptable living conditions have no place where they can claim their right to housing when States have failed to progressively realize the right, imposed forced evictions, or criminalized those who live in homelessness or in informal housing. The report identifies ten key normative principles which States must satisfy to ensure that all components of the right to housing are subject to effective remedies.
A/HRC/40/61
2018
73rd session of the General Assembly
The right to housing for residents of informal settlements

Nearly one quarter of the world’s urban population lives in informal settlements or encampments, most in developing countries but increasingly also in the most affluent. Living conditions are shocking and intolerable. Residents often live without water and sanitation, and are in constant fear of eviction. Past approaches have been premised on the idea of eliminating “slums”, often resorting to evictions and relocating residents to remote locations on the outskirts of cities. The present report proposes a very different, rights-based approach that builds upon informal settlement communities and their inherent capacities.
A/73/310/Rev.1

Statement to the GA
2018
HRC 37th session
Human rights-based national housing strategies

The report outlines the value of a human rights-based approach to housing strategies and describes the key principles upon which effective rights-based housing strategies must be based. While there is no “one size fits all” housing strategy, the Special Rapporteur identifies the most important requirements of each principle that should be shaped to fit specific national and local contexts. The report concludes with a checklist to facilitate the design, monitoring, financing and implementation of human rights-based housing strategies.
A/HRC/37/53

Statement to the HRC
2017
72nd session of the General Assembly
The right to adequate housing of persons with disabilities

The report provides an overview of the diverse housing circumstances of persons with disabilities from institutionalization, homelessness and grossly inadequate housing to experiences of stigmatization and exclusion. The Special Rapporteur considers how the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities has the potential to breathe new life into the right to adequate housing. She highlights the fundamental principles of a human rights based approach to disability, such as dignity, substantive equality, accessibility and participation, as well as the overriding obligation to realize the right to housing to the maximum of available resources, and correlates them to the key features of the right to adequate housing.  
A/72/128

Statement to the GA 
2017
HRC 34th session
Financialization of housing and the right to adequate housing

The report examines structural changes that have occurred in recent years whereby massive amounts of global capital have been invested in housing as a commodity, as security for financial instruments and as a means of accumulating wealth. The report assesses the effect of those historic changes on the enjoyment of the right to adequate housing and outlines an appropriate human rights framework for States to address them. The report reviews the role of domestic and international law in that sphere, and considers the application of principles of business and human rights.
A/HRC/34/51

Statement to the HRC
2016
71st session of the General Assembly
The right to life + the right to adequate housing: the indivisibility and interdependence between these rights

The right to adequate housing is too frequently disconnected from the right to life and core human rights values, treated more as a policy aspiration than as a fundamental right which demands timely rights based responses and access to justice. Violations of the right to life have been addressed primarily in cases where direct action or deliberate omissions by States have deprived or threatened to deprive individuals of life. The failure of States to address systemic deprivations of the right to life tied to poverty, grossly inadequate housing and homelessness have not received the same attention.
A/71/310

Statement to the GA
2016
HRC 31st session
Homelessness as a global human rights crisis that demands an urgent global response

Homelessness is a global human rights crisis. The report examines how homelessness is caused by States’ failures to respond both to individual circumstances and to a range of structural causes, abandoning responsibility for social protection and allowing unregulated real estate speculation and investment to exclude a growing number of people from any form of housing. The report outlines a clear set of obligations on States under international human rights law that, if complied with, would eliminate homelessness.
A/HRC/31/54

Portuguese - Unofficial translation
2015
70th session of the General Assembly
Centrality of the right to adequate housing for the development and implementation of the New Urban Agenda to be adopted at Habitat III in October 2016

The report discusses five critical cross cutting areas that must be given priority: (a) social exclusion: stigmatization and housing status; (b) migration; (c) vulnerable groups; (d) land and inequality; and (e) informal settlements. The report concludes with bold recommendations for the urban rights agenda, including: (a) eliminating homelessness and forced evictions; (b) ensuring security of tenure for all households; and (c) ensuring the incorporation of the right to housing in urban law, policy and programmes, including fiscal policy and resource allocation.
A/70/270

Report summary
English
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2015
HRC 28th session
Responsibilities of local and other subnational governments in relation to the right to adequate housing

The report focuses on the roles of local and other subnational levels of government. It argues that local and subnational governments should be cognizant of and accountable to the human rights obligations that go along with their growing responsibilities while States must ensure that they have the capacity and resources needed to fulfil those obligations.
A/HRC/28/62

Report summary
English | Français | Español 
2014
69th session of the General Assembly
Some preliminary thoughts and priority areas of work for new mandate-holder, Leilani Farha
A/69/274

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2014
25th session HRC
Guiding Principles on security of tenure for the urban poor

This report contains a set of guiding principles to assist States and other relevant actors in addressing the current tenure insecurity crisis faced by the urban poor in an increasingly urbanized world
A/HRC/25/54

Report summary
عربية | English | Français | Portuguese | Español

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2013
68th session of the General Assembly
Analysis of two alternative housing policies: rental and collective housing

The report analyses two alternative housing policies — rental and collective housing — that can play a key role in the promotion of the enjoyment of the right to adequate housing for those living in poverty. The report calls for a paradigm shift from the financialization of housing to a human rights-based approach and recommends that States promote various forms of tenure, including private and public rental, and collective tenure.
A/68/289
2013
22nd session HRC
Mapping and framing security of tenure

In the report, the Special Rapporteur elaborates upon the concept of security of tenure as a component of the right to adequate housing. The Special Rapporteur discusses existing guidance under international human rights law and examines the wide range of existing tenure arrangements, and the prevalent focus in policy and practice on one form of tenure: individual freehold. The Special Rapporteur concludes by underscoring the need for more specific and comprehensive human rights and operational guidance on security of tenure.
A/HRC/22/46
Communications report of Special Procedures A/HRC/22/67
Report on mission to the World Bank Group

The report presents observations and recommendations on the World Bank’s review of its environmental and social safeguard policies relating to the right to adequate housing.
A/HRC/22/46/Add.3
2012
67th session of the General Assembly
The impact of housing finance policies on the right to adequate housing of those living in poverty

Special Rapporteur on adequate housing analyses the ruling paradigm of housing policies that focus on housing finance as the main means of promoting homeownership. The Special Rapporteur concludes that the full realization of the right to adequate housing, without discrimination, cannot be promoted solely by financial mechanisms and requires broader and more holistic housing policies and State interventions. She calls for a paradigm shift from housing policies based on the financialization of housing to a human rights-based approach to housing policies.
A/67/286
2012
19th session HRC
Women and their right to adequate housing

This report focuses on recent legal and policy advancements in the area of women‘s right to adequate housing, including issues related to inheritance, land and property, as well as strategies for overcoming persistent gaps in implementation of those laws and policies. The report also presents a gender-sensitive analysis of the right to adequate housing and concludes with specific recommendations to States and United Nations agencies and human rights mechanisms to improve the enjoyment of this right for women worldwide.
A/HRC/19/53

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2011
66th session of the General Assembly
The right to adequate housing in disaster relief efforts

The report elaborates upon key challenges relating to the protection and realization of the right in disaster response: inattention to or discrimination against vulnerable and disadvantaged groups; the overemphasis on individual property ownership and the associated difficulty to recognize and address the multiplicity of tenure forms equally in restitution and recovery programmes; the risks of approaching post-disaster reconstruction predominantly as a business or development opportunity that benefits only a few; and limitations in existing frameworks for reconstruction and recovery. The report concludes with recommendations for integrating the right to adequate housing in disaster responses.
A/66/270

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2011
16th session HRC
Post conflict and post disaster reconstruction and the right to adequate housing

The report underlines the importance of integrating human rights standards, and particularly the right to adequate housing, in post-disaster and post-conflict reconstruction processes. While taking account of the differences existing between post-conflict and post-disaster situations, the report focuses on common issues, and particularly on three key entry points: security of tenure, consultation and participation, and institutional coordination, through which the elements of the right to adequate housing are highlighted.
A/HRC/16/42

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Communications to and from Governments A/HRC/16/42/Add.1
Preliminary Note on the mission to the World Bank Group (26 October-1st November 2010) A/HRC/16/42/Add.4
2010
65th session of the General Assembly
Migration and the right to adequate housing

The report analyses the specific legal entitlements and protections granted to migrants with respect to the right to housing in international treaties and other international legal instruments. It assesses the challenges faced by documented and undocumented migrants in gaining access to adequate housing, paying particular attention to the situation of migrant workers in low-skilled and informal jobs, undocumented migrants, migrants belonging to minority groups and migrant women and children The report concludes with recommendations for improving  the enjoyment of the right of migrants to adequate housing
A/65/261

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2010
13th session HRC
The impact of mega-events on the realization of the right to adequate housing

The report discusses the impact of major international sports events (mega-events) on the realization of the right to adequate housing, in particular, the positive and negative legacy of hosting the Olympic Games and the Football World Cup. The Special Rapporteur provides an overview of the practices and procedures of the International Olympic Committee and International Association of Football Federations, especially on their bidding and selection process for host cities and countries. The report concludes with recommendations to States, the International Olympic Committee and the International Association of Football Federations
A/HRC/13/20

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Summary of cases transmitted to Governments and replies received A/HRC/13/20/Add.1
2009
64th session of the General Assembly
Climate change and the right to adequate housing

The report discusses the impacts of climate change on the right to adequate housing. It provides an overview of the scope and severity of climate change, its implications for extreme weather events and its impact on urban and rural areas, including unplanned settlements, on human mobility and on small islands and low-lying coastal zones. The report discusses the essential role of international cooperation to address the inevitable impacts of climate change and urges States to take a number of measures, including upholding their human rights obligations when mitigating climate change and adapting to its inevitable impacts
A/64/255

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2009
10th session of the HRC
The financial crisis and its causes

The report discusses the housing, mortgage and financial crisis. With the globalization of the housing and real estate finance markets, cities have become unaffordable for inhabitants of lower-income - and increasingly middle-income - groups. In the majority of countries, the market has become the regulating institution, setting benchmarks for the price, location and availability of housing and land, as well as rental housing prices, while the role of the State in the management of public housing has generally decreased. This has contributed to the perception of housing as a mere commodity and a financial asset, neglecting other dimensions of the right to adequate housing. The report argues that markets alone cannot provide adequate housing for all, and in some circumstances public intervention is needed
A/HRC/10/7

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Communications to and from Governments A/HRC/10/7/Add.1
2008
63rd session of the General Assembly
Areas of work of the 2nd Special Rapporteur in the coming years / justiciability

The report provides an overview of the work of the Special Rapporteur since the creation of the mandate by the Commission on Human Rights. It discusses the definition and the elements of the right to adequate housing and some of the main issues addressed by the Special Rapporteur such as homelessness, affordability, forced evictions, discrimination in accessing adequate housing and the gender perspective, as well as the tools that have been developed to help in the implementation of this right. The report provides views on how the mandate should go forward and highlights the issue of justiciability of the right to adequate housing.
A/63/275
2008
7th session of the HRC
Overview of the work of the 1st Special Rapporteur

The report reviews the work and activities of the first Special Rapporteur on the right to adequate housing, Miloon Kothari, since his appointment in 2000. He recalls the tools elaborated during his term such as the Basic principles and guidelines on development-based evictions and displacement, the questionnaire on women and adequate housing, the questionnaire on the right to adequate housing, and the development of indicators to monitor the realization of the right to adequate housing. The report advocates for a combination of a humanitarian and human rights approach to address the situation of millions of people living in grossly inadequate housing conditions and those facing homelessness and landless and gives an overview on key recommendations during his term.
A/HRC/7/16
Communications to and from Governments A/HRC/7/16/Add.1
2007
5th session of the HRC
Basic principles and guidelines on development-based evictions and displacement

The report presents the Basic principles and guidelines on development-based evictions and displacement, indicators on the right to housing, and a questionnaire to monitor women’s rights to adequate housing and land, core standards and tools developed by the Special Rapporteur.
A/HRC/4/18

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Communications to and from Governments A/HRC/4/18/Add.1

A/HRC/4/18/Add.1/Corr.1
2006
62nd session CHR
The right to housing and the indivisibility of human rights

The report stresses the indivisibility of human rights, without which the right to adequate housing loses its meaning. Whereas this approach initially meant focusing on the interface between adequate housing as an economic, social and cultural right, and relevant civil and political rights such as the right to information and the right to the security of the home, the existing interlinkages go far beyond. An in-depth analysis of the human right to adequate housing necessitates the exploration of linkages with other related rights such as the rights to land, food, water, health, work, property, equality, inheritance, security of the person, and protection against inhuman and degrading treatment, with non-discrimination and security of tenure at the core.
E/CN.4/2006/41
Communications to and from Governments E/CN.4/2006/41/Add.1
2005
61st session CHR
Homelessness

Homelessness is perhaps the most visible and most severe symptom of the lack of respect for the right to adequate housing. There is no sole and easily identifiable cause of homelessness. Causes are diverse and multifaceted, including a lack of affordable housing, speculation in housing and land for investment purposes, privatization of civic services, and unplanned urban migration.  Added to this is destruction and displacement caused by conflicts or natural disasters. The report highlights that forced evictions are contributing to homelessness and calls for a human rights approach to move from a state of homelessness and landlessness to a position of having access to a livelihood and a secure place to live.
E/CN.4/2005/48

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Communications to and from Governments E/CN.4/2005/48/Add.1

E/CN.4/2005/48/Add.1/Corr.1
2004
60th Session CHR
Forced evictions

While the Commission on Human Rights recognized forced evictions as a gross violation of the right to housing and of other human rights in its resolution 1993/77, the phenomenon is continuing with full force. Against this backdrop, the Special Rapporteur proposes a range of measures to address forced evictions, including:  the adoption of national policies and legislation; the holding of an expert seminar to develop clear guidelines for States and the international community on forced evictions; the development of indicators on forced evictions; increased focus by treaty monitoring bodies on issues related to forced evictions; integration of work on forced evictions into the mandates of United Nations agencies, and bilateral and multilateral initiatives.
E/CN.4/2004/48

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2003
59th Session CHR
Emerging issues including water and indicators

The report outlines emerging issues that require the attention of the Commission and the human rights community including (a) water and sanitation as essential elements for the realization of the right to adequate housing; (b) the need to undertake further research on innovative local responses to globalization in urban and rural development; (c) the need for rights-based indicators and assessment tools for monitoring Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and (d) the right of persons with disabilities to adequate housing  for the realization of rights.
E/CN.4/2003/5
2002
58th Session CHR
Discrimination and impact of globalization

The report includes a review of international legal instruments on the right to adequate housing, and highlights a decade of standard-setting work by the United Nations human rights mechanisms. In setting out the framework for his work, the Special Rapporteur called for the examination of a range of issues related to adequate housing, including gender discrimination, land, access to potable water, issues of economic globalization and its compatibility with human rights and particularly its impact on housing, the international cooperation dimension; forced evictions and poverty, and global social policies and their interface with human rights.
E/CN.4/2002/59
E/CN.4/2002/59/Corr.1
2001
57th Session CHR
Definition of mandate and objectives

This report sets out a preliminary framework for the Special Rapporteur’s work. The first section sets out the legal status of the right and reviews the past and ongoing work both within and outside United Nations human rights mechanisms. The second section identifies impediments to the right and issues that merit further analysis, particularly linkages between the right to adequate housing and the processes of globalization. The third section identifies and reviews actions to be undertaken by Member States, international institutions and civil society for greater realization of the right. The report concludes with preliminary recommendations for consideration by the Commission.
E/CN.4/2001/51