Adequate Standard of Living (right to)

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Indigenous community members from the Lhaka Honhat Association sued Argentina on behalf of 132 Indigenous communities belonging to the Wichí (Mataco), Iyjwaja (Chorote), Komlek (Toba), Niwackle (Chulupí), and Tapy'y (Tapiete) peoples who live on lots with the cadastral registrations 175 and 5557 in the Province of Salta (previously known as and referred to in the case as lots 14 and 55).

The claimant filed a tutela action against the Public Works of Cartagena alleging that they put into operation an uncompleted sewer system, producing overflowing black waters and unsanitary conditions in two neighborhoods. The complaint alleged a violation of Article 88 of the Colombian constitution protecting the right to public health and asked for injunctive relief to prevent irreparable harm, as established under Article 5 of the Decree 2591.

This tutela case concerned the requirement that the state provide health services to a group of children living in an impoverished area of Bogotá. Four hundred and eighteen families brought this action against the Ministry of Health and the District Secretary of Health seeking free vaccines against two strains of bacterial meningitis. The plaintiffs argued their case under Article 44 of the Colombian Constitution, which guarantees certain freedoms and protections to children, and under various treaties to which Colombia subscribed.

The plaintiff in this case is a man whose unemployment benefits were reduced first by 30% and then by 60% when he declined a proposed employer and later failed to accept a training and trial placement in another role. The man objected to the reductions unsuccessfully, and filed suit in the Social Court. Before rendering a decision, the Social Court stayed the proceedings in order to obtain judicial review from the Federal Constitutional Court (FCC) as to whether or not the sanctions scheme in question is in compliance with the Basic Law.

In 2005, Germany began the fourth stage of a program aimed at reducing the costs of the country’s social welfare system, an initiative named after its chief architect, Volkswagen personnel director, Peter Hartz. Hartz IV merged unemployment and welfare benefits, fixing the standard benefit for single people living in old West German states (including East Berlin) at 345 Euros per month. This amount was determined based on a statistical survey of income and expenditure of lower income groups. Benefits for other household members were determined as a percentage of 345 Euros.

The European Roma Rights Centre (ERRC) brought this case against Italy for violating Article 31 and Article E of the Revised European Social Charter in failing to protect the Roma population’s right to housing, as well as systematically discriminating against the Roma community. In 2005, the European Committee of Social Rights (ECSR) reported its decision in the case to the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe to enforce Italy’s compliance with the judgment.

Yolanda Daniels is a domestic worker and sole head-of-household who resided for 16 years in a farm dwelling.  She began living there when her former husband was employed by the owner.  She and her three children remained in the dwelling with the owner’s consent after the couple divorced. 

High Court in South Africa Affirms State Duty to Upgrade Informal Settlement

For over 20 years, the City of Johannesburg promised residents that it would upgrade Slovo Park in the face of a lack of electricity, adequate water, sanitation, refuse removal, demarcated roads, and a proneness to fatal shack fires.  The City’s inaction led residents to develop their own upgrading plans in keeping with the Upgrading of Informal Settlements Policy (UISP) contained within the National Housing Code.  Despite residents’ efforts to engage the City on implementing these plans, the City was unresponsive.  Consequently, represented by the

Petitioner, 69-year old Hernando de Jesus Blanco Angarita, filed a tutela action before the Constitutional Court after the First Civil Municipal Court of Bogota found that the National Social Security Fund had not violated his constitutional rights by delaying the transfer of his deceased wife’s pension. The Constitutional Court reversed the First Civil Municipal Court and held that there had been a violation of rights recognized both in the Colombian Constitution and international law.

This case concerns the Ratlam municipality’s obligations to its people under Section 123 M. P. Municipalities Act of 1961. These obligations include the provision of sanitary facilities and the prevention of street contamination from a nearby alcohol plant. The residents of the Ratlam municipality, frustrated at the lack of sanitary facilities and the contamination in the streets, brought suit against the municipality under Section 133 of the Criminal Procedure Code for public nuisance.