Forced evictions constitute gross violations of a range of internationally recognized human rights, including the human rights to adequate housing, food, water, health, education, work, security of the person, freedom from cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, and freedom of movement.
Basic principles and guidelines on development-based evictions and displacement
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Forced evictions are often linked to the absence of legally secure tenure, which constitutes an essential element of the right to adequate housing. Forced evictions share many consequences similar to those resulting from arbitrary displacement, including population transfer, mass expulsions, mass exodus, ethnic cleansing and other practices involving the coerced and involuntary displacement of people from their, lands and communities.
As a result of forced evictions, people are often left homeless and destitute, without means of earning a livelihood and, in practice, with no effective access to legal or other remedies. Forced evictions intensify inequality, social conflict, segregation and invariably affect the poorest, most socially and economically vulnerable and marginalized sectors of society, especially women, children, minorities and indigenous peoples.
The obligation of States to refrain from, and protect against, forced evictions from home(s) and land arises from several international legal instruments including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (art. 11, para. 1), the Convention on the Rights of the Child (art. 27, para. 3), the non-discrimination provisions found in article 14, paragraph 2 (h), of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, and article 5 (e) of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination.
In its resolution 1993/77, the Commission on Human Rights stated that the "practice of forced eviction constitutes a gross violation of human rights, in particular the right to adequate housing". In 1977, the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights issued its
General Comment n°. 7 on forced evictions.
Evictions must be carried out lawfully, only in exceptional circumstances, and in full accordance with relevant provisions of international human rights and humanitarian law.
In 2007, the Special Rapporteur on adequate housing presented to the Human Rights Council a set of "Basic principles and guidelines on development-based evictions and displacement". These guidelines aim to assist States in developing policies and legislations to prevent forced evictions at the domestic level. The basic principles and guidelines on development-based evictions and displacement represent a further development of the United Nations Comprehensive Human Rights Guidelines on Development-based Displacement (E/CN.4/Sub.2/1997/7, annex).
Basic principles and guidelines on development-based evictions and displacement are contained in Annex I of the report of the Special Rapporteur, A/HRC/4/18:
Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, General Comment n°7: The right to adequate housing: forced evictions (art.11 (1))
Fact sheet No. 25/Rev.1: Forced Evictions