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Spain eviction violated family’s human rights, UN experts find

GENEVA (5 July 2017) – Spain violated the right to housing of a family with young children, who were evicted from a rented room in a flat without being provided with alternative housing, UN experts have found.

The independent experts, from the Geneva-based Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, issued their findings after considering a complaint by a couple, who were evicted from their Madrid home in 2013 with their children aged one and three.

In 2012, the couple stopped receiving unemployment benefits and were unable to continue paying the rent. In its findings, the Committee noted that although the eviction by court order was legal, the authorities had not taken all the necessary steps to provide the family with alternative housing.

“This is not a unique case. Families in developed and developing countries are faced with similar situations,” said Committee member Mr. Rodrigo Uprimny. “Through our decision we reaffirm that all people, including those who live in rented accommodation, have the right to housing. States have a duty to ensure that their evictions do not render them homeless.”

He added: “States have an obligation, to the maximum of their available resources, to provide alternative housing to those evicted who are in need. It is for the State concerned to show that it took all the necessary steps but was unable to grant the evicted people with alternative housing.”

Committee chair Ms Virginia Bras Gomes said: “This case reveals to what extent institutional failures, such as the high rate of unemployment, lack of adequate social policies and poor coordination between agencies, are at the root of alarming human rights violations. States must respect their international obligations and urgently tackle these causes to create adequate conditions for the people in need.”

The Committee urged Spain, a State party to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), to take all necessary measures to help the family obtain adequate housing, as well as paying them compensation.
Spain was also asked to put into operation a comprehensive plan to guarantee the right to adequate housing for people with low incomes.

The Committee considered the case under the Optional Protocol to the ICESCR, which gives it the authority to examine individual complaints. More details about the case can be found here.


For media requests please contact: Nicoleta Panta, + 41(0) 22 9179310/npanta@ohchr.org


The Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural rights is composed of 18 independent experts, who are in charge of monitoring the implementation of and compliance with the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

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