Resources and Publications on the Right to Adequate Housing

This page provides access to key publications and resources on the right to adequate housing. They include publications by OHCHR, the Special Rapporteur on the right to adequate housing, UN agencies, international and regional organizations and selected publications of civil society organizations. External publications featured on this website do not necessarily reflect the views of the Special Rapporteur or of OHCHR.  OHCHR Publications on other human rights issues are available here.

General

Flyer: The Special Rapporteur on the right to adequate housing (2021)

PDF: English

OHCHR Fact sheet no. 21/Rev.1: The Right to Adequate Housing (2014)

PDF: العربية 中文 | English | Français | русский | Español

This fact sheet explains what the right to adequate housing is, illustrates what it means for specific individuals and groups, and then elaborates upon States’ related obligations. It concludes with an overview of national, regional and international accountability and monitoring mechanisms.

Special Rapporteur on the right to adequate housing: Guidelines for the implementation of the right to adequate housing (2019)

The Guidelines provide specific recommendations for States, public authorities, and regional and local governments and other actors for implementing the right to adequate housing.

PDF/Word: The Guidelines in all six UN languages | Infographic in English

UN-HABITAT: Human rights, Rule of Law, and the New Urban Agenda (2020)

PDF in English

This publication seeks to assess the impact of legal frameworks within the urban context using international human rights standards and the New Urban Agenda as the starting point. It examines six key areas: land, urban planning, urban economy, housing, basic services and urban Governance.

UN-HABITAT and OHCHR; Housing Rights Legislation: Review of international and national legal instruments (2002)

PDF: English

This report illustrates that effective constitutional and legislative guarantees of the right to adequate housing are not only realistic but have already been adopted successfully in a number of countries with diverse legal, social, economic and cultural systems.

UN HABITAT: International Instruments on Housing Rights (2003)

PDF: English

This compilation contains excerpts of relevant international instruments on housing rights. It also includes ratification information and interpretative documents by the United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (such as the full text of relevant General Comments to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights), and other entities.

UN HABIAT: National Housing Rights Legislation (2005)

PDF: English

This compilation contains constitutional clauses with respect to housing rights. It also contains the full texts or excerpts of selected legislation related to housing from several States -- representing a variety of legal, political, economic and cultural systems and traditions.

African Commission on Human and People’s Rights: Principles and Guidelines on the Implementation of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (2011)

PDF: English | Français

While the African Charta does not explicitly refer to a right to housing or shelter, housing rights are protected in the African Charta through the combination of provisions protecting the right to property (art 14), the right to enjoy the best attainable standard of mental and physical health (art 16), and the protection accorded to the family (art 18(1)). This document sets out the understanding of economic, social and cultural rights, including the right to adequate housing by the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights. It also provides a definition of forced evictions.

Council of Europe: European Social Charter (revised) (1996)

PDF: English | French  | Other languages

Housing rights and the right to housing are included in the European Social Charter in articles 15 (the right of persons with disabilities), 16 (right of the family to social, legal and economic protection), 23 (right of elderly persons to social protection), 30 (the right to protection against poverty and social exclusion) and 31 (the right to housing).

Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights: Housing Rights: The Duty to Ensure Housing for All (2008)

PDF: English

This special issue paper provides an overview on the legal protection of the right to housing under UN treaties and in the jurisprudence and decisions of the European Social Charter and European Court of Human Rights

Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights: Recommendations on the Implementation of the Right to Housing (2009)

PDF: English

Centre on Housing Rights and Evictions (CHORE): The Rights to Adequate Housing 1945-1999 (2000)

PDF: English

This publication provides a chronology of United Nations activities on the right to adequate housing up to the year 1999.

Access to Justice – Complaints - Litigation

OHCHR Flyer: Communications Procedure of Special Procedures

PDF: English

This flyer provides basic information how to submit a complaint for consideration of the Special Rapporteur on the right to adequate housing and other mandate holders.

More information

Special Rapporteur on the right to adequate housing: Access to justice for the right to adequate housing (2018)

Without access to justice, housing is not properly recognized, understood or addressed as a human right. 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.

PDF/Word:  Report in all six UN languages | report page

FEANTSA/Housing Rights Watch: Instruments for Advocacy and Strategic Litigation on Housing Rights in Europe (2020)

PDF: English

This handbook for practitioners and NGOs offers a useful overview on human rights mechanisms of the United Nations and at regional level in Europe that can be used to engage in advocacy and strategic litigation on housing rights.

OHCHR: Working with the United Nations Human Rights Programme: A Handbook for Civil Society (2008)

Entire Handbook 
PDF: Arabic | Chinese  | English | French | Russian | Spanish
Chapter VI: Special Procedures
PDF: Arabic | Chinese | English | French | RussianSpanish
Chapter VIII: Submitting a complaint on an alleged human rights violation
PDF: Arabic | Chinese | English | French | RussianSpanish

The Handbook explains how civil society can engage with various United Nations human rights bodies and mechanisms. It is OHCHR’s hope that this Handbook will enable more people to enjoy and make claim to their human rights through these bodies and mechanisms.

Council of Europe: How can (I)NGOs engage with the European Committee on Social Rights under the monitoring procedure of the European Social Charter (2018)

PDF: English | French

The brochure provides information on how national and international non-governmental organizations can engage with the European Committee of Social Rights under the two monitoring procedures related to the European Social Charter: the reporting procedure and the collective complaints procedure.

Inter-American Commission on Human Rights: Petition and Case System (2010)

PDF: English | French | Spanish | Portuguese

By filing a petition before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, victims of human rights violations can obtain help. The Commission investigates the situation and can make recommendations to the State responsible to restore the enjoyment of rights whenever possible, to prevent a recurrence of similar events, to investigate the facts and to make reparations.

Centre on Housing Rights and Evictions (CHORE): Litigating Economic, Social and Cultural Rights – Legal Practitioners Dossier (2006)

PDF: English

This comprehensive publication provides guidance to lawyers and human rights advocates on litigation of economic, social and cultural rights, including the right to adequate housing. Chapters cover regional and international procedures and leading cases.

UN HABITAT / OHCHR: Compilation of selected adjudication on housing rights (2006)

PDF: English

The present report contains a compilation of excerpts of the text of selected housing rights case law at the international, regional and national levels.  It also contains relevant excerpts of national legislation critically reviewed by the United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. The compilation is not comprehensive, but is a first effort to prepare an overview of relevant case law.

Children

OHCHR: Protection and promotion of the rights of children working and/or living on the street (2012)

PDF in English

The report analyses the circumstances of children working and/or living on the streets, and makes a number of recommendations to States.

UNICEF: Shaping urbanization for children: A handbook on child-responsive urban planning (2018)

PDF: English | Chinese

Through 10 Children’s Rights and Urban Planning principles, the handbook presents concepts, evidence, tools and promising practices to create thriving and equitable cities where children live in healthy, safe, inclusive, green and prosperous communities.

UNICEF: Advantage or paradox: The challenge for children and young people of growing up urban (2018)

PDF: English

The report notes that an estimated 1 billion people now live in urban slums, and hundreds of millions of them are under the age of 18. Transforming the inequalities experienced by these children and young people into advantages is a key challenge for cities and towns worldwide.

Centre for Housing Rights and Evictions (CHORE): Defending Housing Rights of Children (2006)

PDF: English

Protecting children’s housing rights is a pressing concern in all parts of the world — whether in the North or the South. This report examines the many ways in which children suffer violations of their housing rights. It also highlights the international human rights standards that are intended to protect the housing rights of all the world’s children. 

UNICEF: Poverty and exclusion among urban children (2002)

PDF: Arabic | English | Italian | Spanish

This publication assesses the human rights situation of poor and marginalised children in urban areas around the world. It considers the range of problems that these children and their families face; it examines the capacity of accountable and transparent urban governance to promote the rights of children, enable communities and poor households to influence public policies and actions, and ensure tangible and significant progress in improving conditions in urban settlements.

COVID-19

Special Rapporteur on the right to adequate housing: Covid-19: Impacts and way forward (2020)

PDF: Report in all six UN languages | Summary

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.

Special Rapporteur on the right to adequate housing: COVID-19 Guidance Notes (2020)

UN Secretary-General: COVID-19 in an Urban World (2020)

PDF: English

As part of the UN response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the UN Secretary-General has issued this policy briefs to provide ideas to governments on how to address the consequences of this crisis and COVID-19 in an urban world.

Forced Evictions

OHCHR Fact sheet no. 25/rev.1: Forced Evictions and Human Rights (2014)

PDF: العربية | 中文 | English | Français | русский | Español

This fact sheet examines the prohibition on forced evictions under the international human rights framework. It details specific obligations of States and others to refrain from and prohibit forced evictions. It outlines accountability and remedies for when violations of rights and obligations do occur.  

Basic Principles and Guidelines on Development-based Evictions and Displacement (2008)

PDF: العربية  | 中文 | English | Français | русский | Español | Other languages

This document address the human rights implications of development-linked evictions and related displacement in urban and/or rural areas. These guidelines represent a further development of the Comprehensive human rights guidelines on development-based displacement.

UN-HABITAT and OHCHR – Assessing the Impact of Eviction: Handbook (2014)

PDF: English

The purpose of the Handbook is to raise awareness of the importance of assessing the impact of eviction for individuals as well as communities, and it provides a framework for doing so during any stage of the eviction/resettlement process.

OHCHR: Forced Evictions Assessment Questionnaire (2011)

PDF in English

This questionnaire serves as a guidance tool for addressing situations of forced evictions by:
a) contextualizing events;
b) assessing the existence and the type of human rights violations;
c) offering practical advice to all parties; and
d) helping to monitor and report on the situation.

Amnesty International – Know your obligations: A guide to preventing forced evictions (2012)

PDF: العربية | English | Français | Español

This publication aims to assist public officials to effectively meet their obligations with respect to the right to adequate housing. It outlines the pertinent international human rights standards, and gives practical guidance on key measures that must be undertaken when planning projects that may involve evictions.

Special Rapporteur on the right to adequate housing: How to deal with projects that involve forced evictions and displacement? (2012)

PDF: العربية | English | Français | Español | Portuguese

This guide summarizes international human rights standards applicable to involuntary displacement caused by public and private infrastructure and urbanization projects. The objective is to provide guidance to assist in the execution of development projects that respect, protect and fulfil the human right to adequate housing.

European Commission:  Promoting protection of the right to housing - Homelessness prevention in the context of evictions (2016)

English: PDF

This study focuses on the protection of the right to housing in EU countries and in particular on evictions from primary residences. It provides an overview and analysis of available data and trends regarding housing evictions, and establishes the reasons for and impacts of eviction. The report focuses in particular on the link between eviction and homelessness. It also reviews the measures put in place by Member States to prevent evictions and enable early interventions. In addition, the study suggests ways to improve data collection and monitoring of evictions.

UN-Habitat: Forced Evictions – Global Solutions (2012)

PDF in English

This report reviews the status of forced evictions globally through the work of UN-HABITAT, the Advisory Group on Forced Evictions and other international actors. It describes and evaluates the important successes and significant challenges related to the prevention, monitoring and assessment of forced evictions.

UN-HABITAT: Quick Guide 4: Eviction: alternatives to the destruction of urban poor communities (2011)

PDF: English | Français | Portuguese
Powerpoint presentations: English | Français

This guide looks at the various causes of evictions, and their effects on the lives, livelihoods and housing choices of the urban poor, including the legal norms applicable to evictions in international human rights law are examined.

Health and Housing

World Health Organization (WHO): Housing and Health Guidelines (2018)

PDF: Full text: English   Summary: English | Français | Español   Additional background studies: WHO webpage

The WHO Housing and Health Guidelines bring together the most recent evidence to provide practical recommendations to reduce the health burden due to unsafe and substandard housing. Based on a systematic review, the guidelines provide recommendations relevant to inadequate living space (crowding), low and high indoor temperatures, injury hazards in the home, and accessibility of housing for people with functional impairments. In addition, the guidelines identify and summarize existing WHO guidelines and recommendations related to housing, with respect to water quality, air quality, neighbourhood noise, asbestos, lead, tobacco smoke and radon.

World Health Organization (WHO): The right to Healthy Indoor Air (2000)

PDF: English

Indoor air quality is an important determinant of health and wellbeing. However, the control of indoor air quality is often inadequate, one reason being the poor articulation, appreciation and understanding of basic principles underlying policies and action related to indoor air quality. As a result, the general public is familiar neither with those principles nor with their associated rights. A WHO Working Group was convened to agree on a set of statements on “The right to healthy indoor air”, derived from fundamental principles in the fields of human rights, biomedical ethics and ecological sustainability. This document presents the conclusions of the Working Group, informs individuals and groups responsible for healthy indoor air about their rights and obligations, and individuals by bringing those rights to their attention.

Homelessness

Special Rapporteur on the right to adequate housing: Homelessness: a global human rights crisis (2015)

PDF/Word: Report in all six UN languages
PDF: Summary in  English | Français | Portuguese | Español

The report explores how homelessness is understood and manifests in diverse social, cultural, economic and even linguistic contexts. It looks at homelessness both as a serious deprivation of access to housing and as an extreme form of social exclusion, discrimination and loss of dignity. It identifies less visible experiences of homelessness, particularly among women.

OHCHR / United Nations Free and Equal: LGBTIQ+ Youth Homelessness (2020)

This fact sheet provides information on homelessness of young LGBTIQ+ persons, its causes and what everyone and Governments can do to prevent and eliminate LGBTIQ+ homelessness.

PDF in العربية  | 中文 | English | Français | русский | Español 

Secretary-General of the United Nations: Affordable housing and social protection systems for all to address homelessness (2019)

The Secretary General summarizes recent trends in accessing affordable housing and on the situation of homelessness across the globe. The report contains analysis of the drivers of homelessness and provides a set of policies that can effectively address homelessness.

PDF/Word: Report (E/CN.5/2020/3) in all official languages

UN-Habitat: Expert Group Meeting on Affordable Housing and Social Protection Systems for All to Address Homelessness (2019)

PDF: English

This report investigates the complex causes of homelessness, the challenges homeless people face and the effects of homelessness on individuals and societies, and contains policy recommendations on effective housing and social protection policies.

OHCHR: Protection and promotion of the rights of children working and/or living on the street (2012)

PDF in English

The report analyses the circumstances of children working and/or living on the streets, and makes a number of recommendations to States.

FEANTSA: Fifth Overview of Housing Exclusion in Europe (2020)

PDF: English | Français

Every year the Abbé Pierre Foundation and FEANTSA publish an overview of housing exclusion in Europe. According to their estimates, some 700,000 people face homelessness every night in the European Union, representing a 70% increase in ten years.

European Commission: Fighting homelessness and housing exclusion in Europe: A Study of National Policies (2019)

PDF in English

This report based on 35 country reports prepared by the European Social Policy Network underlines that homelessness and housing exclusion are extreme forms of social exclusion that need to be addressed through integrated approaches in order to deliver on principle 19 of the European Pillar on Social Rights.

European Commission:  Promoting protection of the right to housing - Homelessness prevention in the context of evictions (2016)

English: PDF

This study focuses on the protection of the right to housing in EU countries and in particular on evictions from primary residences. It provides an overview and analysis of available data and trends regarding housing evictions, and establishes the reasons for and impacts of eviction. The report focuses in particular on the link between eviction and homelessness. It also reviews the measures put in place by Member States to prevent evictions and enable early interventions. In addition, the study suggests ways to improve data collection and monitoring of evictions.

Indicators

OHCHR: Human Rights Indicators: A Guide to Measurement and Implementation (2012)

PDF: العربية |  EnglishFrançaisрусскийEspañol

The publication aims to assist in developing quantitative and qualitative indicators to measure progress in the implementation of international human rights norms and principles.

Indicators for the right to adequate housing:   PDF: English (Table 7)
Indicator:  Forced Evictions  PDF: English
Indicator:  Homelessness PDF: English

UN HABITAT: The Housing Rights Index: A Policy Formulation Support Tool (2018)

The Housing Rights Index is intended for the use of policy makers and urban practitioners to analyse the realisation of the right to adequate housing. It allows to assess the core dimensions of the right to adequate housing: security of tenure, availability of services, affordability, habitability, accessibility, location and cultural adequacy, based on a questionnaire that can be applied a local or national level.

PDF: English  Tool with questions
EXL:  Excel Sheets:  English | Spanish
PDF: Usage Guide: English | Spanish

UN Habitat / OHCHR: Monitoring housing rights: Developing a set of indicators to monitor the full and progressive realization of the right to adequate housing (2003)

PDF: English

This background paper for an expert group meeting on housing rights monitoring presents a framework for the development of a set of housing rights indicators. A set of 6 housing rights elements and 17 housing rights indicators is proposed. Once a final set of indicators has been agreed upon, these indicators will form the foundation for the establishment of a global system for monitoring the full and progressive realization of the human right to adequate housing.

Indigenous Peoples

Special Rapporteur on the right to adequate housing: The right to adequate housing of indigenous peoples (2019)

PDF/Word: Report in all six UN languages | Report page

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.

UN Habitat and OHCHR; Securing land rights for indigenous peoples in cities (2011)

PDF: English

This Policy Guide provides policy-makers with the necessary knowledge about the challenges and rights of Indigenous peoples in relation to land and property in the urban context. The Guide sets out how to secure land rights of Indigenous peoples in cities through a human rights framework in the context of urbanization, including migration and urban expansion.

UN Habitat and OHCHR: Indigenous peoples’ right to adequate housing (2005)

PDF: English

This report outlines to what extent indigenous peoples in different regions of the world enjoy the right to adequate housing. It includes seven case studies on the status of housing for indigenous peoples, and identifies strategies to help improve their living conditions worldwide.

Informal Settlements

The Shift: The right to housing for residents of informal settlements (2020)

PDF: English  | View related report page

This policy brief provides details of the United Nations Special Rapporteur recommendations regarding how governments can upgrade informal settlements within a human rights-based framework. 

UN-HABITAT: The Human Rights-Based Approach to Housing and Slum Upgrading (2017)

PDF: English  | Key messages for participatory slum upgrading

This handbook is a guide for housing and slum upgrading practitioners in using the human rights-based approach in their interventions.

UNECE: Guidelines for the formalization of informal constructions (2019)

PDF: English

This publication is a brief, practical and easy-to-read guide, explaining how to structure a programme for the formalization of informal constructions. The focus is on the formalization process itself, but there are also descriptions of the preparatory work needed to analyze problem magnitude, as well as how to find political acceptance, identify post-formalization factors, and identify the root problems that cause future informality.

UN-HABITAT: A Practical Guide to Design, Planning and Executing Citywide Slum Upgrading Programmes (2015)

PDF: English

This Guide advocates for a citywide approach to slum upgrading, which represents a fundamental shift from piecemeal project interventions to a citywide programme approach.

UN-HABITAT: Streets as Tools for Urban Transformation in Slums (2014).
PDF in English

This publication advocates for a participatory approach to the upgrading of informal settlements using streets as tools for urban transformation and slum upgrading.

UN HABITAT: Housing and Slum Upgrading: Gender Issues Guide (2013)

PDF: English

Access to adequate housing is a fundamental human right and is enshrined in numerous international agreements and conventions. Yet millions of women and men continue to live in towns and cities without security of tenure and with inadequate housing and related services. This guide’s objectives are:

  • To increase understanding of gender concerns and needs in housing and slum upgrading 
  • To develop capacity to address gender issues in this area 
  • To encourage the integration of a gender perspective into policies, projects, and programmes for sustainable urban development 
  • To support the institutionalization of the culture of gender mainstreaming and gender equality, the implementation of gender-sensitive projects and programmes, and the monitoring of gender-mainstreaming progress.

Local Governments

Special Rapporteur on the right to adequate housing: Implementing the Right to Adequate Housing: A Guide for Local Governments and Civil Society (2014)

PDF: English | Français | Español  | View related report page
This guide is designed to help local government and civil society understand the right to housing and the challenges faced when addressing this right at a local level.

Mega-Events

Special Rapporteur on the right to adequate housing: Mega-events and the right to housing (2010)

PDF/World:  Report (A/HRC/13/20) in all UN languages

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.

Centre on Housing Rights and Evictions (COHRE): Mega-Events, Olympic Games and Housing Rights: Opportunities for the Olympic Movement and Others (2007)

PDF: English

This publication demonstrates a clear and consistent link between mega-events and adverse housing and argues that housing concerns must be fully integrated into all aspects of the deliberations and preparations associated with staging mega-events, providing a set of recommendations to ensure the implementation of this aim.

Persons with disabilities

Special Rapporteur on the right to adequate housing: The right to adequate housing of persons with disabilities (2017)

PDF/Word: Report in all UN languages | Report page

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.

OHCHR: Policy Guidelines for Inclusive Sustainable Development Goals: Sustainable Cities and Communities (2020)

These Guidelines on SDG 11 are component of the SDG-Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities - Resource Package developed by OHCHR. They cover the right to accessible housing, informal settlements and homelessness (SDG11.1), transportation systems inclusive of persons with disabilities (SDG 11.2), and inclusive public spaces (SDG 11.7). A training module and video accompanies the Guidelines.

PDF: English  | Training Materials: Word English | Slides: English | Video: English / Sign language

UN-HABITAT: The right to adequate housing for persons with disabilities living in cities. Towards inclusive cities (2015)

PDF: English  | Text only version

Persons with disabilities are disproportionately represented in the poorest quintile of the population, and face additional challenges due to discriminatory laws and policies, environmental barriers, and lack of support services that would enable the enjoyment of the right to adequate housing on an equal basis with others. This study reviews the literature on the meaning and impact of the right to adequate housing for persons with disabilities in cities. It uses the foundational framework of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), and demonstrates how the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) provides a new understanding of this complex right.

UN-HABITAT: Accessibility of Housing: A Handbook of Inclusive Affordable Housing Solutions for Persons with Disabilities and Older Persons (2014)

PDF: English

The handbook reviews applicable human rights and building standards and presents practical solutions to outgrow accessibility barriers for persons with disabilities and older persons in the contexts of slum upgrading, reconstruction, large-scale affordable and social housing programmes.

Refugees, migrants and displaced persons

OHCHR et alt.: Handbook on housing and property restitution for refugees and displaced persons (Implementing the “Pinheiro Principles”) (2007)

PDF: English | Français | Español

This Handbook provides important and practical guidance to all those working on housing and property restitution issues. It aims at promoting durable solutions for internally displaced persons and refugees, including the right to return to the homes and properties from which they fled or were forced to leave due to armed conflict and human rights violations.

Principles on Housing and Property Restitution for Refugees and Displaced Persons (2005)

In 2005 Paulo Sérgio Pinheiro presented to the Commission on Human Rights Principles on Housing and Property Restitution (E/CN.4/Sub.2/2005/17).

PDF: Text of the Principles in all six UN languages

Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement (1998)

PDF: Text of the Guiding Principles in all six UN languages

The Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement restate and compile human rights and humanitarian law relevant to internally displaced persons.

UNHCR et al:  Handbook for the Protection of Internally Displaced Persons (2010)

PDF: English

This handbook developed by the Global Protection Cluster Working Group sets out more detailed guidance on the Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement

OHCHR:The Economic, Social and Cultural Rights of Migrants in an Irregular Situation (2014)

PDF: English | Français |Español

International human rights law provides that everyone, without discrimination, must have access to the fundamental human rights, including the right to adequate housing. Where differential treatment is contemplated, between citizens and non-citizens or between different groups of non-citizens, this must be consistent with international human rights obligations.

OHCHR and Global Migration Group: Principles and Guidelines, supported by practical guidance, on the human rights protection of migrants in vulnerable situations (2018)

PDF: English

OHCHR has led the development of a set of principles and guidelines on the human rights protection of migrants in vulnerable situations. Migrants who fall outside the specific legal category of "refugee" may find themselves in vulnerable situations because of the reasons for leaving the country of origin, the circumstances in which they travel or the conditions they face on arrival, or because of personal characteristics such as their age, gender, disability or health status.

European Council on Refugees and Exile:  The right to housing for beneficiaries of international protection (2016)

PDF: English

This report examines the right to accommodation as set out in the international and EU law framework and examines and highlight certain safeguards that can be found within EU and international law that can challenge dispersal practices.

Displacement Research Action Network (DRAN) et al.: Home sweet home: Housing practices and tools that support durable solutions for urban IDPs (2015)

PDF: English

The objective of this report is to support the achievement of durable solutions for urban IDPs by making a range of practices available to policymakers, donors and practitioners to inform the design, funding and implementation of housing policies and programmes in urban settings advocating for a human-rights based approach.

IASC – Operational Guidelines on the Protection of Persons in Situations of Natural Disasters (2011)

PDF in English

These guidelines provide guidance for protecting the human rights of persons in situations of natural disasters, including their right to adequate housing.

IASC – Framework on Durable Solutions for Internally Displaced Persons (2010)

PDF in English

The Framework on Durable Solutions for Internally Displaced Persons aims to provide clarity on the concept of a durable solution and provides general guidance on how to achieve it. 

Security of Tenure

Special Rapporteur on the right to adequate housing:
Booklet: Guiding Principles on Security of Tenure for the Urban Poor (2014)

PDF: عربية | English | Français | Portuguese | Español

Guide: Guiding Principles on Security of Tenure for the Urban Poor (2014)

PDF:  English| Full text of the Guiding Principles in all six UN languages.

UN HABITAT: Global Campaign for Secure Tenure A tool for Advocating the Provision of Adequate Shelter for the Urban Poor (2003)

PDF: English

This handbook identifies recent innovations in the field of land management and pinpoints land tenure trends. It shows how governments, including local government and other stakeholders, are coming to grips with implementing the land related principles enshrined in the Habitat Agenda at a practical level in the cities and towns.

Training Materials and Handbooks

OHCHR:From Planning to Impact: A Manual on Human Rights Training Methodology (2019)

PDF: English | French | Spanish

This Handbook provides general guidance how to deliver effective human rights training. It provides practical guidance on all phases of the human rights training cycle: planning, designing, organizing and delivering training, and conducting follow-up activities.

OHCHR: Manual on Human Rights Monitoring: Chapter 20: Monitoring Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (2001)

PDF: English | Full Manual: Table of Contents | Other Chapters

This chapter of the OHCHR Manual on Human Rights Monitoring provides guidance on monitoring economic, social and cultural rights. Appendix II includes OHCHR Guidance on monitoring forced evictions through a set of questions.

OHCHR: Economic, Social and Cultural Rights - Handbook for National Human Rights Institutions (2005)

PDF: العربية | 中文 | English | Français | русский | Español

This Handbook provides not only to National Human Rights Institutions an introduction to monitoring economic, social and cultural rights, including the right to adequate housing.

OHCHR: Policy Guidelines for Inclusive Sustainable Development Goals: Sustainable Cities and Communities (2020)

PDF: English | Training Materials: Word English | Slides: English | Video: English / Sign language

These Guidelines on SDG 11 are component of the SDG-Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities - Resource Package developed by OHCHR. They cover the right to accessible housing, informal set tlements and homelessness (SDG11.1), transportation systems inclusive of persons with disabilities (SDG 11.2), and inclusive public spaces (SDG 11.7). A training module and video accompanies the Guidelines.

Amnesty International: Haki Zetu - ESC Rights in Practice: The Right to Adequate Housing (2010)

Main Handbook Part I: PDF: English
Main Handbook Part II: PDF: English
The Right to Adequate Housing: PDF: English
Booklets on other economic, social and cultural rights: webpage

Amnesty International has published this practical toolkit for local NGOs and CBOs working with communities to realise their economic, social and cultural rights. The package includes a main handbook and specific booklets on particular rights, including the right to adequate housing.

UN HABITAT: Housing the Poor in African Cities (2015)

UN Habitat developed this set of guides for policy makers and a corresponding training manual with presentations.  The guides cover several aspects on the right to adequate housing, including affordability, prevention of evictions, and community participation in housing and urban planning.

Training Facilitators’ Guide    
PDF: English | French
Quick Guide 1: Urban Africa-Building with Untapped Potential   
PDF: English | French | Portuguese |   Powerpoint Presentations: English | French
Quick Guide 2: Low income Housing
PDF: English | French | Portuguese |   Powerpoint Presentations: English | French
Quick Guide 3: Land: a crucial element in housing the urban poor
PDF: English | French | Portuguese |   Powerpoint Presentations: English | French
Quick Guide 4: Eviction: alternatives to the destruction of urban poor communities
PDF: English | French | Portuguese |   Powerpoint Presentations: English | French
Quick Guide 5: Housing Finance: Ways to help the poor pay for housing
PDF: English | French | Portuguese |   Powerpoint Presentations: English | French
Quick Guide 6:  Community-based organizations: The poor as agents for development
PDF: English | French | Portuguese |   Powerpoint Presentations: English | French
Quick Guide 7: Rental Housing: A much neglected housing option for the poor
PDF: English | French | Portuguese |   Powerpoint Presentations: English | French
Quick Guide 8: Local Government: Addressing the urban challenges in a participatory and integrated way
PDF: English | French | Portuguese | Powerpoint Presentations: English | French

UN HABITAT: Housing the Poor in Asian Cities (2008)

A similar set of quides for Asian Cities is also available at the UN-HABITAT website on training materials.

UN-HABITAT: Designing and Implementing Street-led Citywide Slum Upgrading Programmes: A Training Module Companion (2015)

Book: PDF: English
Training Materials: UN-HABITAT website

This publication outlines a training programme for local officials, policy makers and practitioners to improve the quality and delivery of citywide slum upgrading programs.

Women

OHCHR: Women and the Right to Adequate Housing (2012)

PDF: العربية  | 中文 | English | Français | русский | Español

This publication is based on the work of the Special Rapporteur on the right to adequate housing. It provides an overview on normative framework relating to the right to adequate housing of women under international human rights law and on discrimination against women in the areas of housing, land and property. In addition, specific topics, such as inheritance, forced evictions, inadequate housing conditions for women and violence against women are discussed. A comprehensive introduction to the topic.

Special Rapporteur on the right to adequate housing: I am a woman. How can my right to housing be effective? (2012)

Flyer PDF: English | Portuguese | Español
Booklet PDF: English | Portuguese | Español

OHCHR and UN Women: Realizing women’s rights to land and other productive resources (2020)

PDF in English

This updated 2nd edition provides guidance for lawmakers, policymakers and civil society organizations to support the adoption and effective implementation of laws, policies and programmes to respect, protect and fulfil women’s rights to land and other productive resources. The publication clarifies how women’s rights to land and other productive resources are relevant to the achievement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 2015

UN HABITAT and UN Women: Harsh realities: Marginalized Women in Cities of the Developing World (2020)

This analysis, based on data from 59 low- and middle-income countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, Central and Southern Asia, and sub-Saharan Africa, finds that women and their families bear the brunt of growing income inequality and failures to adequately plan for and respond to rapid urbanization. The data show that women are often overrepresented in informal settlements. At the root of this phenomenon are gender-based inequalities that limit women’s access to education, secure and durable housing, and asset ownership.

UN-HABITAT: Women and Housing: Towards inclusive cities (2014)

This publication explores the complex terrain of the often unrealized right to adequate housing of women and its negative implications for urban sustainability. It identifies a number of key areas that impede various women from enjoying their right to adequate housing. It introduces the conceptual framework of an intersectional analysis as a gender and diversity-inclusive way to examine and assess housing policies and processes so that the right to adequate housing, protection from forced evictions and sustainable human settlements may one day become a reality for all women and men.

UN HABITAT: Housing and Slum Upgrading: Gender Issues Guide (2013)

PDF: English

Access to adequate housing is a fundamental human right and is enshrined in numerous international agreements and conventions. Yet millions of women and men continue to live in towns and cities without security of tenure and with inadequate housing and related services. This guide’s objectives are:

  • To increase understanding of gender concerns and needs in housing and slum upgrading 
  • To develop capacity to address gender issues in this area 
  • To encourage the integration of a gender perspective into policies, projects, and programmes for sustainable urban development 
  • To support the institutionalization of the culture of gender mainstreaming and gender equality, the implementation of gender-sensitive projects and programmes, and the monitoring of gender-mainstreaming progress.

Questionnaire on women and adequate housing (2008)

This questionnaire (A/HRC/4/18, Annex III) was developed by the Special Rapporteur on the right to adequate housing for monitoring the right to adequate housing of women.

Note: OHCHR is not responsible for the content of external publications.