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Housing discrimination and spatial segregation


Published
14 October 2021
Issued by:
The Special Rapporteur on the right to adequate housing, Mr. Balakrishnan Rajagopal
Presented:
To the 76th session of the General Assembly in 2021
Link:
A/76/408 (Advance Unedited Version)

Summary

Housing discrimination and spatial segregationThe report draws attention to the fact that discrimination in housing continues to be one of the most pervasive and persistent barriers to the fulfillment of the right to adequate housing. Housing discrimination is a global problem, affecting many groups and all elements of the right to adequate housing. This includes lack of equal and non-discriminatory access to private and public housing, to building land or housing for rental.

Housing discrimination can as well take the form of unequal or discriminatory access to mortgages and credit, discrimination in relation to habitability and inheritance of housing, unequal security or tenure or unequal legal protection against evictions. Housing discrimination may also extend to unequal access to public services, such as water and sanitation, energy, public transport and others. Furthermore, there continues to be strong correlation between housing discrimination, environmental health and physical security, access to employment, schooling, and health care.

Women, children, older persons, persons with disability, religious, racial and ethnic groups and minorities, migrants, IDPs, refugees, indigenous peoples, LGBTIQ+ persons, persons living in situation of homelessness, in informal settlements, or in poverty are particularly affected by discrimination in relation to the right to adequate housing.

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.  The report concludes with 11 key recommendations to eliminate housing discrimination and ensure that no one is left behind.

This report is the first of two interrelated thematic reports of the Special Rapporteur. His second report on spatial segregation and will be presented to the 49th session of the Human Rights Council in March 2022.

Key Recommendations

States, regional, local and other public authorities, public and private housing providers should as apropriate:

  • Adopt comprehensive anti-discrimination legislation covering all protected groups, including women, children, persons with disabilities, LGBTIQ+ persons, migrants, IDPs and refugees, foreigners, racial, ethnic, religious groups and minorities, persons living in situation of homelessness and in informal settlements prohibiting any form of discrimination in relation to the right to adequate housing by all public and private entities, including public and private housing and credit providers.
  • Review existing housing, tenant, land, building, town planning, zoning, banking, population registration, and social legislation and related regulations to ensure that they prevent and prohibit discrimination in relation to all elements of the right to adequate housing under international human rights law.
  • Establish accessible and sufficiently resourced non-judicial mechanisms (equality bodies, ombudspersons, NHRIs, housing rights advocates) at local, regional and national level, that have the competence to investigate individual and collective complaints of housing discrimination, including systemic forms of housing discrimination, monitor discrimination in relation to housing through statistical analysis, surveys and other means, make recommendations for eliminating housing discrimination and provide legal advice and effective remedies to victims of housing discrimination.
  • Collect and publish regularly data on housing and housing discrimination, disaggregated by age, gender, income, race, disability, ethnicity, religion, nationality, minority, IDP, refugee and residence status, sexual orientation, location, housing status (homeless, informal, formal, tenant, homeowner) and any other relevant group membership to monitor discrimination in relation to housing, covering habitability, affordability and accessibility of housing and services, security of tenure and access to justice and remedies.
  • Establish sufficient compensation and reparation schemes for victims of discrimination in housing, especially those who belong to historically marginalized groups.
  • Ensure that housing and anti-discrimination legislation provides sufficiently dissuasive fines and sanctions for housing discrimination by public authorities and private entities, including public and private housing providers. 
  • Undertake awareness raising campaigns for the general public, to ensure greater awareness of non-discrimination in the provision of housing and related services, especially focusing on groups at elevated risk of housing discrimination which have been historically marginalized.

Read the full report and all its recommendations.

Methodology

To inform his reports the Special Rapporteur issued a questionnaire and held a series of consultations. The questionnaire, summaries of the consultatations and submissions received a published below.

Questionaire :  العربية | English | Français | Español

Consultations

Consultation with Local and Regional Governments
14 May 2021 at 15:00 CEST
Registration

Access to Justice for Housing Discrimination and Spatial Segregation
Consultation with judges, lawyers, human rights institutions and non-discrimination bodies
7 May 2021, 15:00 CEST (Geneva)
Registration

Consultation with States, relevant ministries, public institutions and international organizations
30 April 2021, 15:00 CEST (Geneva)

Consultation with CSOs: Housing discrimination and spatial segregation
12 April 2020: 15:00 CET
Registration

Inputs received

States

Local and regional Governments

National Human Rights Institutions and Ombudspersons

Civil Society Organizations

Academia and Lawyers

International Organizations and United Nations Entities

Inputs received

States

Local and regional Governments

National Human Rights Institutions and Ombudspersons

Civil Society Organizations

Academia and Lawyers

International Organizations and United Nations Entities