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Housing is a Human Right

    Housing is a Human Right

     Amnesty International

    It is estimated that over 1 billion people around the world live in slums or informal settlements, in grossly inadequate housing and living conditions. Most lack security of tenure, which makes them vulnerable to forced evictions and other human rights violations. They are often denied or do not have adequate access to clean water, sanitation, education and health care.

    We all have a right to adequate housing, which includes protection from forced evictions. The growing number of people living in inadequate conditions, in slums and informal settlements reflects the failure of governments to uphold the right to adequate housing. Far from improving their housing conditions, governments often forcibly evict people living in slums, driving them further into poverty and into more precarious housing and living conditions.

    Amnesty International works to achieve change in the lives of people living in slums and informal settlements by campaigning to end forced evictions. We focus on governments implementing and adopting a prohibition of forced evictions and safeguards on how evictions should be carried out within their national laws in selected countries. We also work to prevent forced evictions (or ensure remedies and reparations when forced evictions are carried out) through mass mobilization and campaigning which include education, advocacy and media work. We call on governments to ensure a minimum degree of security of tenure for all persons living in informal settlements and slums, including through regularization of settlements where possible.

    Amnesty International also campaigns for equal access to public services for people living in slums, as well as prioritization of people living in slums, along with other most disadvantaged groups, in low-income housing and other housing programs. Amnesty International campaigns for governments to ensure the participation of affected communities in the processes and decisions that impact their lives.

    Photo: Residents of various townships across Zimbabwe demonstrate during an Amnesty International 'Week of Action to Stop Forced Evictions' in Harare, Zimbabwe, 23 March 2012. Copyright: Amnesty International