Report on the right to adequate housing of Indigenous Peoples


Published
17 July 2019
Author
Special Rapporteur on the right to adequate housing
Presented
To the UN General Assembly at its 74th session
Link

Summary

This report finds that housing conditions for indigenous peoples around the world are overwhelmingly abhorrent and too often violate the right to adequate housing, depriving them of their right to live in security and dignity.

Indigenous peoples face significant barriers to their enjoyment of the right to housing compared with non-indigenous peoples. They are more likely to:

  • suffer inadequate housing and negative health outcomes,
  • have disproportionately high rates of homelessness, and
  • experience forced evictions, land-grabbing and the effects of climate change.

When they defend their rights, they are often the targets of extreme violence.

The report contains guidance for States, indigenous authorities and other actors on how to ensure that their obligations under international human rights law regarding the right to housing are met in conformity with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

The report asserts that the right to housing of indigenous peoples must be interpreted in a manner that recognizes the interdependence and indivisibility of the right to housing as articulated in international human rights law and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The meaning and application of the right to housing must therefore integrate:

  • the right to self-determination;
  • the principle of free, prior and informed consent;
  • the right to land, territories and resources; and  
  • access to justice.

The Special Rapporteur argues that the adequacy of housing must be defined and determined by indigenous peoples themselves. She also asserts that human rights claims framed using the Declaration will be strengthened if the accountability mechanisms and the legal obligations attached to the right to housing are deployed. She concludes with a set of recommendations to guide States, indigenous authorities and other actors in ensuring that indigenous peoples can live in peace, security and dignity and enjoy the right to adequate housing without discrimination.

Read the report in all six UN languages.

Related publications

Indigenous  peoples’ right to adequate housing – a global overviewIndigenous peoples’ right to adequate housing – a global overview (2005)

This report by OHCHR and UN Habitat looks at whether and to what extend indigenous peoples in different regions of the world enjoy the right to adequate housing. It includes seven case studies on the status of housing for indigenous peoples, and identifies strategies to help improve their living conditions worldwide. PDF in English


 

A picture containing diagram  Description automatically generatedUN Habitat – Securing land rights for indigenous peoples in cities (2011)
This policy guide provides policy-makers with the necessary knowledge about the challenges and rights of Indigenous peoples in relation to land and property in the urban context. The guide sets out how to secure land rights of Indigenous peoples in cities through a human rights framework in the context of urbanization, including migration and urban expansion. PDF in English

 


Methodology

In developing the report the Special Rapporteur invited States, Indigenous Authorities, international and regional organizations, national judicial institutions, National Human Rights Institutions, Indigenous Peoples’ and civil society organizations, and other stakeholders to share relevant information.

Inputs received

States

Indigenous Peoples and Civil Society Organizations