New report: Report of the Special Rapporteur on adequate housing as a component of the right to an adequate standard of living, and on the right to non-discrimination in this context (September 2018).
In the present report, the Special Rapporteur examines the issue of the right to
housing for residents of informal settlements and the commitment made by States to
upgrade such settlements by 2030. Nearly one quarter of the world’s urban population
lives in informal settlements or encampments, most in developing countries but
increasingly also in the most affluent. Living conditions are shocking and intolerable.
Residents often live without water and sanitation, and are in constant fear of eviction.
Past approaches have been premised on the idea of eliminating “slums”, often
resorting to evictions and relocating residents to remote locations on the outskirts of
cities. The present report proposes a very different, rights-based approach that builds
upon informal settlement communities and their inherent capacities. It understands
informality as resulting from systemic exclusion and advances a set of
recommendations for supporting and enabling residents to become full participants in
upgrading. The recommendations have their basis in international human rights
obligations, particularly those flowing from the right to housing, and cover a number
of areas, including the right to participation, access to justice, international
cooperation and development assistance, environmental concerns, and business and
The report reaches some simple but urgent conclusions: the scope and severity
of the living conditions in informal settlements make this one of the most pervasive
violations of human rights globally. The world has come to accept the unacceptable. It
is a human rights imperative that informal settlements be upgraded to meet basic
standards of human dignity. Recognizing this, and mobilizing all actors within a shared
human rights paradigm, can make the 2030 upgrading agenda achievable.