Housing (Right to adequate)

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The claimants in this joined action were asylum-seekers who had sought asylum after their initial entry to the UK. The defendant, Secretary of State for the Home Department, refused support under Section 55 of the Nationality, Immigration, and Asylum Act 2002 ("the Act") with regard to accommodation. Section 55 allowed refusal of support to asylum seekers who failed to make their claim as soon as reasonably practicable.

This High Court case was brought with the support of Hakijamii, a human rights organization based in Nairobi that has been a member of ESCR-Net since 2005; and stemmed from the request of more than 1,000 individuals, evicted from their homes located in six communities commonly known as the Medina Location of Garissa municipality.

ESCR-Net together with SERI, the NGO Coalition for the OP-ICESCR and the Norwegian Centre on Human Rights convened a three-day workshop in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Country: 
United Kingdom
Working Group(s) / Area(s) of Work: 
OP-ICESCR

March 14th is the international day of action for rivers and against dams.  ESCR-NET’s member MAB (Movement of Dam-Affected People), several other social movements and leading international organizations are taking action in over 40 countries to demand improvement in the policies and practices of decision makers in regards to dam constructions and the forcible displacement of families.

On December 7, 2011, The Working Group on Human Rights in India and the UN  released the report it has submitted to the United Nations (UN) titled "Human Rights in India: An Overview." Click here for more information and a copy of the report.

This case was brought as an abstract review[1] by the Abahlali BaseMjondolo Movement (Abahlali), a voluntary association which acts in the interests of several thousand people living in informal dwellings in South Africa. Abahlali argued that section 16 of the KwaZulu-Natal Elimination and Prevention of Re-emergence of Slums Act ("the Slums Act"), which authorized provincial government officials to issue a notice directing that eviction proceedings be instituted by owners and local municipalities against informal settlements, was unconstitutional.

The South African Constitutional Court was asked to decide whether tenants of a block of flats were entitled to notice before the municipal electricity utility, City Power, disconnected their supply. The tenants paid for their electricity to the owner of the property, and despite their regular payment, the owner allowed substantial arrears to run up on the account, and City Power disconnected the property, giving the owner, but not the tenants, notice.

The case was brought by two women who had borrowed minimal sums of money (about 27 and 35 US dollars respectively), had been charged significant interest and fell behind on their payments. This led to the sale and execution of their houses. The applicants argued that legislation permitting the sale in execution of people's homes due to non-payment of trifling debts removed their security of tenure and violated their right to access to adequate housing recognized in section 26 of the Constitution. The law in question was sections 66(1)(a) and 67 of the Magistrates' Courts Act 32 of 1944.

Approximately 20,000 occupiers of the Joe Slovo informal settlement in Cape Town appealed to the Constitutional Court to set aside an order for their eviction granted by the High Court. The eviction had been sought by the National and Provincial Ministers of Housing and a housing company contracted to implement a development of formal housing for low-income families at the site of the informal settlement. While the housing company tendered that they would provide temporary accommodation for the occupiers in Delft, 15 kilometres away, no permanent housing was guaranteed.