The Right To Adequate Housing : Final Report / Submitted By Rajindar Sachar, Special Rapporteur

On 29 August 1991, at its forty-third session, the Subcommission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities adopted without a vote resolution 1991/26 in which it entrusted Mr. Rajindar Sachar with producing a working paper on the right to adequate housing, with a view to determining how best to further both the recognition and the enforcement of that right.
2. The Commission on Human Rights, at its forty-ninth session in its decision 1993/103, endorsed the decision of the Subcommission taken in its resolution 1992/26 of 27 August 1992, to appoint Mr. Rajindar Sachar as Special Rapporteur on promoting the realization of the right to adequate housing. The endorsement of the Commission was, in turn, approved by the Economic and Social Council in its decision 1993/287.
3. At the forty-fourth session of the Subcommission the working paper (E/CN.4/Sub.2/1992/15) was submitted and discussed at length. At the forty-fifth session of the Subcommission a progress report (E/CN.4/Sub.2/1993/15) was submitted – the first report of Mr. Sachar in his capacity as Special Rapporteur.
4. In its resolution 1994/14 of 25 February 1994, adopted at its fiftieth session, the Commission on Human Rights, welcoming the progress report of the Special Rapporteur, invited him to submit a second progress report to the Subcommission at its forty-sixth session.
5. The Special Rapporteur submitted his second progress report (E/CN.4/Sub.2/1994/20) to the Subcommission at its forty-sixth session. In its resolution 1994/38, the Subcommission welcomed the preliminary recommendations and conclusions contained in the second progress report and took note with interest of the draft international convention on housing rights. It requested the Special Rapporteur to submit his final report to the Subcommission at its forty-seventh session, which was endorsed by the Commission on Human Rights at its fifty-first session in its resolution 1995/19.
6. On 29 October 1993 a note verbale and letter were sent to Governments, United Nations bodies, specialized agencies, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations, as well as community-based organizations, requesting them, pursuant to Subcommission resolution 1993/36, to provide the Special Rapporteur with information relevant to the preparation of his report. Nearly 50 replies were received from States, United Nations bodies and specialized agencies, intergovernmental organizations and non-governmental organizations. They are listed in annex III to the present report.
7. The Special Rapporteur wishes to express his gratitude for the considerable number of replies he received, which he has taken as an important encouragement of the work he is undertaking. He is very grateful for the amount of substantive information provided by Governments, United Nations bodies and NGOs, which has been extremely helpful in preparing the final report. Many of the replies contained useful information on national legislation, including constitutional provisions. This information has been used to update annex I to his second progress report on constitutional sources
of housing rights. That update appears as annex I to the present report. Chapter VI of the present report contains an analysis made by the Special Rapporteur of the replies received.
8. The Special Rapporteur’s working paper (1992) focused primarily on what he recognized as the primary causes of the global housing crisis and various legal issues relating to the human right to adequate housing. The principal reasons for the still widespread denial of housing rights throughout the world, according to the Special Rapporteur, were: (i) the failures of government and development policies; (ii) housing discrimination; (iii) environmental health, disasters and housing; (iv) the withholding of information crucial to housing; (v) exploitation in the housing sphere; (vi) speculation and the commoditization of housing; (vii) forced evictions; (viii) armed conflict; (ix) the criminalization of housing;
(x) structural adjustment programmes and debt; (xi) poverty and the deprivation of means; and (xii) the perpetuation of homelessness
9. The Special Rapporteur’s first progress report (E/CN.4/Sub.2/1993/15) provided a detailed legal analysis of the legal obligations of States to respect, protect and fulfil housing rights, resulting in the development of a synthesis of governmental obligations based on international legal standards. The first progress report also touched on the question of justiciability of housing rights and gave an overview of housing right jurisprudence. 
10. One of the main misperceptions that the work on housing rights is subject to, and which is readily cited by those that do not accept the right to adequate housing as a human right, is that such acceptance would mean that every individual would start demanding a house, and that the resources at the disposal of States would be totally insufficient to meet such a demand. The Special Rapporteur has refuted such a narrow interpretation of the human rights approach in the following manner.

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