The Human Right to Housing
Everyone has the right to live with dignity. No one should be denied their right to adequate housing.
More than 200,000 communities in the world can be defined as slums. Home to more than 1 billion people across all continents, these neighborhoods share common characteristics such as inadequate housing, sanitation and drainage; poor water and electricity services; overcrowding; and high levels of violence. Residents rarely have security of tenure, placing them at constant risk of forced eviction.
The world's slum population is growing at alarming rates. Some projections suggest that 2 billion people will be living in slums by 2030. Slums may be poverty's most visible manifestation.
Slums are home to multiple human rights violations that cause poverty:
Deprivation. People living in slums face obvious deprivation of resources and assets. Not only are they denied the right to adequate housing, but they are excluded from basic services such as safe water, sanitation, health and education.
Insecurity. They also face high levels of insecurity due to the constant threat of violence from police and criminal gangs, and from being forcibly evicted with little or no warning.
Discrimination. Access to justice is routinely denied because of discrimination and because whole communities are treated as criminals.
Denial of participation. In the processes and decisions that impact on their lives, people living in slums are routinely denied a say. They are not consulted or allowed to participate in decision-making processes about upgrading their homes or arranging alternative housing when a forced eviction is planned.
Far from being a problem exclusive to developing countries, there are similar issues of deprivation, insecurity, exclusion and lack of voice in poor neighborhoods in the USA, in and around European cities, and in areas reserved for Indigenous Peoples in Canada and Australia.