Slums - Know Your Rights!
23 July 2010
Rights are the key for people to break out of the poverty trap. Put simply, respect for human rights demands inclusion, demands that everyone gets a say, demands that those in power protect people from threats to their security.
According to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights:
“We all, as members of society, have the right to realize the economic, social and cultural rights indispensable for our dignity”
There are specific rights we all have to do with where and how we live.
EVERYONE HAS THE RIGHT TO A STANDARD OF LIVING ADEQUATE FOR OUR HEALTH AND WELL-BEING – INCLUDING FOOD, CLOTHING, HOUSING AND MEDICAL CARE AND NECESSARY SOCIAL SERVICES
This is according to Article 25 of the UDHR.
OUR RIGHT TO ADEQUATE HOUSING
This includes the right to be protected against forced eviction.
And this right to housing “should not be interpreted in a narrow or restrictive sense which equates it with, for example, the shelter provided by merely having a roof over one’s head … Rather, it should be seen as the right to live somewhere in security, peace and dignity,” According to the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.
OUR RIGHT TO ACCESS ESSENTIAL SERVICES
"Adequate shelter and services have been deemed as a basic human right which places an obligation on governments to ensure their attainment by all people", according to the UN Conference on Human Settlement.
OUR RIGHT TO BE SAFE FROM ARBITRARY AND/OR FORCED EVICTION
A forced eviction is the removal of people against their will from the homes or land they occupy without legal protections and other safeguards.
Evictions should not be carried out until all other feasible alternatives have been explored, genuine consultation has taken place with the affected communities and appropriate procedural protections are in place. In particular, there should be adequate and reasonable notice for affected people before any eviction, and no one should be rendered homeless or vulnerable to other human rights violations as a consequence of eviction. Where those affected are unable to provide for themselves, the government must ensure that adequate alternative housing, resettlement or access to productive land is available.
Not every eviction that is carried out by force constitutes a forced eviction – if appropriate safeguards are followed.
OUR RIGHT TO EDUCATION, INCLUDING FREE AND COMPULSORY PRIMARY EDUCATION
Is outlined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 26.
OUR RIGHT TO PARTICIPATE IN DECISION-MAKING
The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights guarantees the right of every citizen to take part in the conduct of public affairs. The UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights has stressed that the right to participation must be an integral part of government policies, programmes and strategies. In order for active participation to be meaningful, states must also fulfil a number of other rights and duties, including the rights to freedom of expression and association, and the duty to ensure the conditions in which human rights defenders can carry out their work.
OUR RIGHT TO BE FREE FROM DISCRIMINATION
The right to enjoy human rights without discrimination is a fundamental principle underlying international human rights law. International law prohibits discrimination on a broad range of factors, including race, sex, sexual orientation, religion, language, national or social origin, ethnicity or Indigenous or other status.
Travel the world to find out about human rights and poverty. Learn about and take action on maternal mortality, human rights abuses in slums, the need for access to justice for those whose rights have been denied. Meet people and communities, listen to their stories, tell your own.