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Call for inputs: Resettlement as a human rights issue

Issued by

Special Rapporteur on the right to adequate housing


Issued by Special Procedures


Adequate housing

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In the present report, submitted in accordance with Human Rights Council resolution 52/10, the Special Rapporteur elaborates on the current state of crisis with respect to resettlement of persons following evictions and displacement, which negatively affects the right to adequate housing and other human rights. While evictions and displacement are recognized as major human rights concerns, negative outcomes with regard to resettlement have yet to be acknowledged as a significant human rights issue globally. Such negative outcomes result in serious violations of the rights of those affected, including the right to adequate housing. With the present report, the Special Rapporteur aims to launch a clarion call to prevent and counteract the poor outcomes and negative impacts of resettlement in an age that is witnessing increased displacement caused by disasters, development, conflict, uncontrolled use of eminent domain, urbanization, industrial agriculture, climate change and other drivers. In the present report, the Special Rapporteur reviews existing standards in international human rights law on resettlement, its main drivers and the key reasons for the poor outcomes of resettlement and explores alternative pathways to improve the record of resettlement. He concludes with recommendations for avoiding and reducing the harm caused by displacement and poor resettlement outcomes and argues for the development of comprehensive global principles and guidelines to ensure that resettlement is undertaken in full compliance with human rights.


There is multifold evidence that the right to adequate housing and other human rights are often violated due to eviction and displacement without adequate resettlement and resulting in inadequate housing and living conditions, including livelihoods. Frequently, such poor resettlement outcomes are very different from what has been promised on paper in laws, policies, development and resettlement plans.

In his first report to the Human Rights Council (A/HRC/47/43) the Special Rapporteur on the right to adequate housing, Mr. Balakrishnan Rajagopal, pointed to the urgent need to develop a set of guidelines at the international level to ensure that resettlement and relocation are carried out in compliance with the international human rights framework and are consistent with the Sustainable Development Goals. The Special Rapporteur noted that the “absence of such international guidelines leads to wildly varying approaches to eligibility criteria for project-affected people, compensation for loss of land and housing rights, due process requirements in evictions, consultation, participation and consent requirements for relocation and site selection, and benefit-sharing arrangements, among others”.

Through the current call for inputs, the Special Rapporteur aims to collect information to inform the preparation of his forthcoming reports for the Human Rights Council in March 2024 and the General Assembly in October 2024.

The reports
  • will identify key human rights challenges posed by resettlement and take stock of international and national laws, regulations, policies and practices related to resettlement.
  • review the laws, regulations and safeguard policies of States, international organizations, international financial institutions, multilateral, bilateral development agencies, and businesses related to resettlement.
  • analyze what is needed to ensure that legal protections and safeguards related to resettlement are not only protected on paper, but also are respected in practice, and will look to compile good practices.

In 2024 the Special Rapporteur is planning to undertake further consultations with States, international organizations, human rights experts, institutions, civil society organizations, and business actors with the aim of developing international guiding principles for resettlement, that will be presented in March 2025 to the Human Rights Council.

In order to collect information, the Special Rapporteur has issued a questionnaire which is here available: English | Español | Français