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    Ghetnet metiku ehrc homelessness & right to adequate housing Ghetnet metiku ehrc homelessness & right to adequate housing Document Transcript

    • Assessment on Homelessness & the Right to Adequate Housing in Ethiopia 1st Draft Prepared on 14 January 2011 Assessment on Homelessness and the Right to Adequate Housing in Ethiopia (1st Draft) Ghetnet Metiku WoldeGiorgis Socio-Legal Researcher January 2011 Addis AbabaGhetnet Metiku Woldegiorgis,Freelance Socio-Legal ResearcherE-mail: gmgiorgis@gmail.com Page 1 of 53
    • Assessment on Homelessness & the Right to Adequate Housing in Ethiopia 1st Draft Prepared on 14 January 2011 Table of Contents1. Introduction ............................................................................................................................32. Conceptual Background .........................................................................................................5 2.1. Defining Homelessness ...................................................................................................5 2.1.1. Scope of Existing Definitions ..................................................................................5 2.1.2. Coverage of Existing Definitions ........................................................................... 8 2.1.3. Typologies of Homelessness.................................................................................. 9 2.1.4. Working Definition ................................................................................................ 12 2.2. Causes of Homelessness ............................................................................................... 14 2.3. Homelessness and Human Rights ................................................................................ 143. The Right to Adequate Housing........................................................................................... 18 3.1. The Basis for the Right .................................................................................................. 18 3.1.1. International Standards ........................................................................................ 18 3.1.2. Regional Standards ............................................................................................... 19 3.2. Substance of the Right ................................................................................................. 20 3.2.1. Meaning of ‘adequate’ housing ........................................................................... 20 3.2.2. Holders of the right ............................................................................................... 21 3.2.3. Interrelationship with other rights ....................................................................... 21 3.3. Implementation of the Right ........................................................................................ 22 3.3.1. Obligations of States ............................................................................................. 22 3.3.2. Legal Strategies ..................................................................................................... 23 3.3.3. Non-legal strategies ..............................................................................................24 3.4. Approaches to Homelessness ......................................................................................244. Responses to Homelessness and its Impacts in Ethiopia .................................................. 29 4.1. Ratification of International and Regional Human Rights Instruments .................... 29 4.2. Constitutional Recognition of the Right to Adequate Housing ................................. 29 4.3. Legislative Measures .................................................................................................... 30 4.4. Non-Legislative Measures ............................................................................................. 31 4.5. Assessment .................................................................................................................... 315. Recommendations ...............................................................................................................33 5.1. General Recommendations ..........................................................................................33 5.2. Specific Recommendations ......................................................................................... 346. Annexes ................................................................................................................................ 38 6.1. References .................................................................................................................... 38 6.2. Summary of international and regional standards ..................................................... 38 6.2.1. CESCR General Comment 4 .................................................................................. 38 6.2.2. CESCR General Comment 7 .................................................................................. 44 6.2.3. Indicators on the Right to Adequate Housing .................................................... 50Ghetnet Metiku Woldegiorgis,Freelance Socio-Legal ResearcherE-mail: gmgiorgis@gmail.com Page 2 of 53
    • Assessment on Homelessness & the Right to Adequate Housing in Ethiopia 1st Draft Prepared on 14 January 20111. IntroductionThe Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC) is a national human rights institutionestablished in accordance with Article 55(14) of the Constitution of the Federal DemocraticRepublic of Ethiopia (FDRE) through Proclamation No 210/2000. The establishing law givesthe EHRC extensive mandates to promote, protect and work towards the realization ofhuman rights in Ethiopia. More specifically, the duties and responsibilities of the Commissioninclude: – educating the public to be aware of and claim its rights; – seeing to it that the human rights are protected, respected and fully enforced; – investigating complaints of human rights violations; and, – recommending remedial measure where they are found to have been violated.In undertaking its duties and responsibilities the Commission has so far conducted importantactivities and programmes geared towards ensuring its role as the key human rightsinstitution within the country. One among the focal areas being addressed by the EHRC sinceits establishment is the promotion of socio-economic rights, including the right to adequatehousing. Accordingly, the Commission has decided to engage external consultants whowould conduct an assessment of the national policy, legal, institutional framework for theimplementation of the right to housing and responses to the situation of persons living in thestreet. The planned assessment will also seek to establish the roles to be played by the EHRCand other stakeholders in addressing homelessness and its impacts.The assessment aims at enabling the creation of a comprehensive national policy, legal,institutional and programmatic response to the situation of persons and families living in thestreets of urban centers throughout Ethiopia. To this end, the objectives of the currentreport are: – Establishing the international and regional human rights framework for the recognition and realization of the rights of homeless persons, including the right to adequate housing; – Drawing lessons from international and foreign practice in taking legislative, policy, institutional and programmatic measures towards addressing homelessness and the realization of the right to adequate housing; and, – Reviewing and assessing the status, achievements, and gaps in addressing homelessness and the realization of the right to adequate housing in Ethiopia in line with the applicable international human rights standards.Based on the findings parallel to these specific objectives, the assessment will proposespecific actionable recommendations for the EHRC and its partners.Ghetnet Metiku Woldegiorgis,Freelance Socio-Legal ResearcherE-mail: gmgiorgis@gmail.com Page 3 of 53
    • Assessment on Homelessness & the Right to Adequate Housing in Ethiopia 1st Draft Prepared on 14 January 2011The scope of the assessment could be seen from two distinct perspectives with overlappingsubstance: the right to adequate housing and homelessness. Thus, the major research issuesto be addressed during the assessment are: – international and regional standards defining the substance and implementation of the right to adequate housing and the rights of homeless persons that are relevant to Ethiopia; – international practice in the implementation of the right to adequate housing and addressing homelessness; and, – the implementation of the right to adequate housing and measures to address homelessness in Ethiopia.The results of this assessment are expected to serve as a basis for activities to be conductedby the Commission and its partners during and after the current fiscal year, includinglegislative reform and lobbying, strengthening responses across sectors and designingspecific direct interventions by the Commission. The lessons drawn from the assessment aswell as subsequent activities will also serve as part of a model framework for similar activitiesto be designed in subsequent planning periods.Ghetnet Metiku Woldegiorgis,Freelance Socio-Legal ResearcherE-mail: gmgiorgis@gmail.com Page 4 of 53
    • Assessment on Homelessness & the Right to Adequate Housing in Ethiopia 1st Draft Prepared on 14 January 20112. Conceptual Background 1There is no internationally agreed definition of homelessness. Definitions range from thenarrow—equating homelessness with “rooflessness”—to the broad, based on the adequacyof the dwelling, the risk of becoming homeless, the time exposed to homelessness andresponsibilities for taking alleviating action. 2.1. Defining HomelessnessDefining ‘homelessness’ poses several challenges, especially in the context of developingcountries including the absence of formal or binding definitions, limited data on the numberand situation of the ‘homeless’, ambiguous distinctions with squatting and informalsettlement, and the legal position of streetism.2 In order to count homeless people, theremust first be a working definition of homelessness, which is lacking in most developingcountries. In some cases the status of the most visible among the group may also be subject 3to administrative and criminal sanctions. On the other hand, since Western definitions fail totake into account the specific circumstances of less developed societies, existing theoreticaland legal definitions are not fully relevant. For instance, the inclusion of squatters or informalsettlements in the definition would incorporate most existing households and make itimpossible to focus on the most vulnerable. It is thus necessary to formulate a workingdefinition of homelessness in the context of specific developing countries if it is to informrelevant interventions. Given the lack of a globally agreed definition of homelessness, limiteddata are available about the scale of this phenomenon, which in turn impedes thedevelopment of coherent strategies and policies to prevent and address it. 2.1.1. Scope of Existing DefinitionsIn the past, commentators defined homelessness as featuring a lack of a right or access tosecure and minimally adequate housing, variously described as:“rooflessness (living rough),houselessness (relying on emergency accommodation or long-term institutions), or inadequatehousing (including insecure accommodation, intolerable housing conditions or involuntarysharing)”.4 In Sweden:5 “A homeless person is a person, who has no personal or rented housingor permanent accommodation and who has been directed to temporary alternative housing orspends nights outdoors.” Others distinguish between relative and absolute homelessness.61 OHCHR and UN HABITAT, Fact Sheet No. 21/Rev.1, November 2009, p. 222 Dr A. G. Tipple and Suzanne Speak, The Nature and Extent of Homelessness in Developing Countries, Global Urban Research Unit (GURU), University of Newcastle upon Tyne, DFID Project No. R7905, 20033 For example, in India, the Bombay Prevention of Begging Act, is used to clear the streets of homeless people when important events are to take place.4 Edgar, B., Doherty, J., and Mina-Coull A., Services for homeless people, Innovation and change in the European Union, The Policy Press, JCSHR, FEANTSA, 1999, p. 25 Anneli Kährik, Ene-Margit Tiit, Jüri Kõre and Sampo Ruoppila, Access to Housing for Vulnerable Groups in Estonia, PRAXIS Working Paper No 10/2003, August 2003, pp. 40-416 United Nations Centre for Human Settlements (Habitat), Strategies to combat homelessness, Nairobi, 2000, pp. 15-17Ghetnet Metiku Woldegiorgis,Freelance Socio-Legal ResearcherE-mail: gmgiorgis@gmail.com Page 5 of 53
    • Assessment on Homelessness & the Right to Adequate Housing in Ethiopia 1st Draft Prepared on 14 January 2011Absolute homelessness occurs when there is neither access to shelter nor the elements ofhome. A person may be in relative homelessness; that is, they may have a shelter but not ahome. The notion of a home, however, is determined also by cultural conditions. Broaderdefinitions incorporate the concept of social exclusion as a major component of the conceptof homelessness suggesting that: “Homelessness is a condition of detachment from society characterized by the absence or attenuation of the affiliative bonds that link settled persons to a network of interconnected social structures”7.There is a wide recognition in Europe that homelessness, as a component of social exclusion,needs to be seen as more than an absence of shelter.8 Homelessness should be seen as arelational rather than an absolute concept.9 In this sense, homelessness has two principalmeanings:10 “… on the one hand lack of space – a shelter – and on the other hand the absenceof social relations or ties which in turn would reveal situations of social exclusion ormarginalization.”The ‘narrow’ definitions of homelessness have evolved through time in response to changesin the conceptual and methodological framework. During the 1960s, the trend was toapproach the issue from the perspective of how ‘the homeless’ behaved especially in termsof their lack of primary relationships. A typical example is found in the following definition of‘homeless households’ latter adopted by the UN for statistical purposes:11 “households without a shelter that would fall within the scope of living quarters. They carry their few possessions with them sleeping in the streets, in door ways or on piers, or in any other space, on a more or less random basis.”In the next decade, emphasis shifted towards a subjective perspective stressing the self-identification of homelessness based on how people felt about their living arrangements. Ifthey consider their situation to be unsatisfactory because of poor conditions, over-crowdingand lack of security, they could consider themselves homeless. The 1990s, on the other hand,saw the dominance of quantifiable definition in the form of scientific statistics that couldinform policy formulation. Homeless people were defined as those who were withoutconventional shelter and in emergency or short-term accommodation, i.e. people to betargeted with policy interventions.7 Caplow and others, 1968, p. 4948 Edgar, B., Doherty, J., and Mina-Coull A., Services for homeless people, Innovation and change in the European Union, The Policy Press, JCSHR, FEANTSA, 1999, p. 549 Edgar, B., Doherty, J., and Mina-Coull A., Services for homeless people, Innovation and change in the European Union, The Policy Press, JCSHR, FEANTSA, 1999, p. 310 Tosi, 1997 (Referred to in: Edgar, B., Doherty, J., and Mina-Coull A., Services for homeless people, Innovation and change in the European Union, The Policy Press, JCSHR, FEANTSA, 1999, pp. 2-311 Principles and Recommendations for Population and Housing Censuses, United Nations publication, Sales No. 07.XVII.8 P), 1998, para 1.328Ghetnet Metiku Woldegiorgis,Freelance Socio-Legal ResearcherE-mail: gmgiorgis@gmail.com Page 6 of 53
    • Assessment on Homelessness & the Right to Adequate Housing in Ethiopia 1st Draft Prepared on 14 January 2011These theoretical definitions share one core component, the lack of conventional shelter or‘houselessness’. Legal definitions in some countries have widened the definition to includepeople sleeping in institutions meant for those without any form of shelter. This is the casefor definitions used in the United States of America, India and France (UNCHS, 1999c). Forexample, in the United States of America, the Stewart B. McKinney Homeless Assistance Actof 1987, defined ‘homeless’ to mean: “(1) An individual who lacks a fixed, regular, and adequate night-time residence; and, (2) An individual who has a primary night-time residence that is: A supervised publicly or privately operated shelter designed to provide temporary living accommodations (including welfare hotels, congregate shelter, and transitional housing for the mentally ill); An institution that provides a temporary residence for individuals intended to be institutionalized; or A public or private place not designed for, or ordinarily used as, regular sleeping accommodations for human beings. (3) This term does not include any individual imprisoned or otherwise detained under an Act of Congress or a state law. People who are at imminent risk of losing their housing, because they are being evicted from private dwelling units or are being discharged from institutions and have nowhere else to go, are usually considered to be homeless for program eligibility purposes” .The Census of India uses the notion of ‘houseless population’, defined as the persons whoare not living in ‘census houses’, meaning ‘a structure with roof’. In short, the narrowdefinition of homelessness equates two groups: those who would be sleeping rough or in apublic shelter. Their situation, which corresponds to a narrow or literal definition ofhomelessness, also implies the absence of community and family ties, privacy, security, andthe lack of shelter against the elements.Wider definitions of homelessness go beyond the narrow definition of ‘rooflessness’,embracing only those sleeping rough, to one including risk and causality.12 According to onesuch definition: “Homelessness is the absence of a personal, permanent, adequate dwelling. Homeless people are those who are unable to access a personal, permanent, adequate dwelling or to maintain such a dwelling due to financial constraints and other social barriers…”13.More wide-ranging interpretations of homelessness include those living in ‘intolerablehousing conditions’14 which would include overcrowded, insecure or substandard12 Edgar, B., Doherty, J., and Mina-Coull A., Services for homeless people, Innovation and change in the European Union, The Policy Press, JCSHR, FEANTSA, 199913 United Nations Centre for Human Settlements (Habitat), Strategies to combat homelessness, Nairobi, 2000, pp. 18-19 (Avramov, 1996, p. 71, cited in FEANTSA, 1999, p. 10)14 Watchman and Robson, “Homelessness and the law in Britain”, mimeo, Glasgow, Planning Exchange, 1989Ghetnet Metiku Woldegiorgis,Freelance Socio-Legal ResearcherE-mail: gmgiorgis@gmail.com Page 7 of 53
    • Assessment on Homelessness & the Right to Adequate Housing in Ethiopia 1st Draft Prepared on 14 January 2011accommodation, those forced into involuntary sharing, or those subjected to high levels ofnoise pollution or infestation. Some definitions developed from a Western Europeanperspective go even further, including those without permanent or adequate dwellings.15A theoretical definition of homelessness could be said to be an essential condition ofrecognition of and policy towards homelessness with regard to both quantity and quality.However, the meaning of homeless is fluid and elusive, changing over time and betweenplaces. Wide ranges of official and non-official conceptualizations of homelessness are usedaround the world, usually related to national legislation and policy legacies.The Special Rapporteur on adequate housing has noted that narrow definitions areinadequate and that in developing countries the most common definitions recognize that anelement of social exclusion is part of the experience of the homeless. UN-Habitat underlinesin this respect that homelessness implies belonging nowhere rather than simply havingnowhere to sleep. 2.1.2. Coverage of Existing DefinitionsDefinitions of ‘homelessness’ also differ in terms of their coverage or the dwellingcircumstances that may be classified as homelessness. The following are the differentcircumstances which have been classified as homelessness.16 Table 1: Categories of the HomelessRough sleepers People actually living on the street carrying their few possessions with them; often lacking legal identity for lack of official documentationPavement dwellers Two main categories may be identified: those who have chosen the street as their place of abode for economic or other reasons;17 and those who are reluctant but have nowhere else to liveOccupants of shelters This category includes those who report to shelters for homeless persons with or without extra-accommodation services on a regular basisOccupants of Inmates of prisons and long stay hospitals who are about to be released18institutionsOccupants of Households, typically in developing countries, occupy housing lackingunserviced housing access to safe water and adequate sanitation 19Occupants of poorly In many high-income industrial countries, poor construction of the home isconstructed or insecure regarded as a reason for declaring the occupants homeless20 (vulnerable15 Avramov, D., Homelessness in the European Union, Brussels, FEANTSA, 199516 United Nations Centre for Human Settlements (Habitat), Strategies to combat homelessness, Nairobi, 2000, pp. 19-2517 They may choose to live here rather than more peripheral (affordable) housing because their living is made close to the centre of the cities.18 In some cases, refugees and asylum seekers are housed in institutions, as they have no local home.19 According to UNICEF (1999) data, some 13% of the urban population in developing countries lack access to safe water and some 25 access to adequate sanitation facilities, i.e. there were some 253 million urban residents who do not have access to safe drinking water and 486 million who do not have adequate sanitation.Ghetnet Metiku Woldegiorgis,Freelance Socio-Legal ResearcherE-mail: gmgiorgis@gmail.com Page 8 of 53
    • Assessment on Homelessness & the Right to Adequate Housing in Ethiopia 1st Draft Prepared on 14 January 2011housing sites, precarious tenancy)Sharers In European literature, this includes people who would be described as ‘doubling-up’; they are sleeping on a friend’s floor or are staying with parents when they really want to ‘leave the nest.’Occupants of housing Households who can no longer afford what was a manageable housing costof unsuitable cost due to emergent causes such as loss of income, death of income earner, and increasing rents.Occupants of mobile In some high-income industrial countries,21 long term occupation of mobilehomes homes, caravans, barges, and motor vehicles is regarded as inadequate (especially if not by choice or where restrictions apply to location or travel).The first two categories, i.e. rough sleepers and pavement dwellers, are covered in thenarrowest of definitions of homelessness while the third (occupants of shelters) are thesame persons identified from the perspective of accessing service. Inclusion of the othercategories varies depending on the specific context and purpose of the definition. Generallyspeaking, definitions used in developing countries are limited in their coverage to the firsttwo while broader coverage is observed in the context of developed countries. Within thesame context, statutory definitions giving rise to entitlements use narrower definitions thanpolicy documents or definitions used by non-government actors. Other categorizationsprofiling the homeless according to specific factors such as age, gender or health status arealso common. A case in point is the treatment of street children,22 women and the mentally illas a separate category of homeless persons. 2.1.3. Typologies of HomelessnessOne approach is to provide for a general definition of homelessness and identifying morespecific categories or levels of homelessness. For instance, Australian federal law defineshomelessness as ‘inadequate access to safe and secure housing’.23 This exists where the onlyhousing to which a person has access: is likely to damage the person’s health; threatens theperson’s safety; marginalises the person by failing to provide access to adequate personalamenities or the normal economic and social support of a home; or, places the person incircumstances that threaten or adversely affect the adequacy, safety, security andaffordability of that housing.24 Within this general legal definition, the Australian Bureau ofStatistics (ABS) has identified several categories of homelessness in Australian society in20 In developing countries, so many households endure poorly constructed dwellings falling short of building regulations that they are unlikely all to be regarded as homeless. According to UNCHS (1999a), more than a quarter of housing in developing countries (and 40% in Sub- Saharan Africa) is built in nonpermanent materials, while more than one third of housing in developing countries (and more than half in Sub-Saharan Africa) does not comply with local regulations.21 The rarity of mobile homes in developing countries is probably sufficient to reduce the numbers there in this category to virtually zero.22 Many children in the streets go home at night; others have no home in which they are welcome and live a life dissociated from adult supervision and care. The reference may be to both or the latter depending on context and purpose.23 Supported Accommodation Assistance Act 1994 (Cth), s 4(1).24 Supported Accommodation Assistance Act 1994 (Cth), s 4(2)Ghetnet Metiku Woldegiorgis,Freelance Socio-Legal ResearcherE-mail: gmgiorgis@gmail.com Page 9 of 53
    • Assessment on Homelessness & the Right to Adequate Housing in Ethiopia 1st Draft Prepared on 14 January 2011relation to minimum community standards regarding housing and highlighting thathomelessness affects people in different ways, depending on their personal situation andneeds. These are: Primary homelessness: For some people, being homeless means being ‘roofless’ – living on the streets, in parks or in deserted buildings. This is known as primary homelessness and is the most visible kind of homelessness.25 Secondary or tertiary homelessness: For other people, being homeless means moving between various types of temporary shelters, such as the homes of friends and relatives, refuges and hostels; or living in boarding houses on a long-term basis, 26 with shared amenities and without security of tenure. The ABS categorises this as secondary or tertiary homelessness. People who are ‘marginally housed’: These people are living close to the minimum community standard of housing, such as a family staying with relatives on a long- term basis or a couple renting a caravan without security of tenure.27 While not strictly within the current definition of people who are homeless, there is debate as to whether their experience of inadequate housing means they should be included in the group of homeless persons.28Typologies of homelessness developed in recent decades range from ‘the homelesscontinuum’29 to classifications based on quality, risk or potential, time and responsibilities for 30taking alleviating action. There are a large number of typologies of homelessness that arebased on key elements of housing ‘adequacy’.31 However, most quality orientedcategorizations come up with a three or four category system distinguishing between levelsof homelessness in terms of severity of living conditions. The following typology isrepresentative of quality-based categorizations: Table 2: Quality-Based Categories of HomelessnessDegree of homelessness Characteristics25 Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), Counting the Homeless 2001, 2003, p12, available at http://www.ausstats.abs.gov.au/ausstats/free.nsf/0/5AD852F13620FFDCCA256DE2007D81FE/$ File/20500_2001.pdf26 ABS, Counting the Homeless 2001, 2003, p. 1227 ABS, Counting the Homeless 2001, 2003, pp. 12-1328 ABS, Counting the Homeless 2001, 2003, p. 1329 These are a group of typologies describing states between satisfactory and secure forms of housing on one end and sleeping rough at the other.30 United Nations Centre for Human Settlements (Habitat), Strategies to combat homelessness, Nairobi, 2000, pp. 26-3131 For instance, based on a study of homelessness in Europe, FEANTSA proposes a quality- oriented definition of homelessness beginning with a four-fold sub-division of housing adequacy defined by high/low quality and high/low security, all except the high quality and high security subdivision falling within the definition of homelessness.Ghetnet Metiku Woldegiorgis,Freelance Socio-Legal ResearcherE-mail: gmgiorgis@gmail.com Page 10 of 53
    • Assessment on Homelessness & the Right to Adequate Housing in Ethiopia 1st Draft Prepared on 14 January 2011Absolute homelessness People without an acceptable roof over their heads, living on the streets, under bridges and deserted buildingsFirst degree relative People moving between various forms of temporary or medium termhomelessness shelter such as refuges, boarding houses, hostels or friendsSecond degree relative People constrained to live permanently in single rooms in privatehomelessness boarding housesThird degree relative Housed but without conditions of ‘home’, e.g., security, safety, orhomelessness32 inadequate standards Source: UN HABITAT, 200033Typologies based on potential or risk of homelessness generally incorporate the homeless aswell as those about to become homeless mainly with a view to informing preventive as wellas curative intervention. In Austria, the definition of homelessness (referred to as‘houselessness’) distinguishes among three groups of homeless people: acute, imminent orpotential.34 The first category includes people living on the street, squatting in public spacesnot designed for residence, staying with friends or relatives because of inadequate housingof their own, and living in housing that is an acute health hazard.35 ‘Imminent houselessness’concerns those who are threatened with the loss of their current abode, who are incapableof keeping it, or who cannot provide a replacement for themselves. Finally, ‘potentialhouselessness’ includes those where the housing loss is not imminent but may beapproaching because of inadequate housing or income. More elaborate typologies based onpotential or risk informed by studies in developed countries similarly incorporate people whoare, or are potentially, homeless. One such study based on work in the UK, the US andCanada, have suggested a different five point classification based on the risks faced by 36people who are already homeless and the type of assistance they would need. Wherecategories of potentially or actually homeless people are neither counted nor considered,they are sometimes called the hidden homeless.Other important typologies of the homeless include those based on time and responsibilityfor intervention. Time-based typologies, which are mostly employed by those interested inand drawing data from the provision of services to the homeless, group the homeless basedon how long they have been homeless. One such typology distinguishes betweentransitionally homeless, episodically homeless, and chronically homeless.37 Another time-based typology also incorporates the reactions of the ‘already homeless’ to their situation.3832 Also referred to as inadequate housing or incipient homelessness33 UN HABITAT, Selected Strategies to Combat Homelessness, 2000 (Quoting Cooper, 1995)34 These categories are similar to those used in a Canadian study: literally homeless; moving in and out of homelessness; and marginally housed and at risk of homelessness (Peressini and others, 1995).35 BAWO, 1999; cited in UNCHS 1999c36 UN HABITAT, 2000: Quoting Daly, 199637 Kuhn, R. and Culhane, D.P., Applying cluster analysis to test a typology of homelessness by pattern of shelter utilisation, American Journal of Community Psychology, Vol. 26, No. 2, 1998, pp. 207-3238 Hertzberg, E. L., The homeless in the United States: conditions, typology and interventions, International Social Work, Vol. 35, 1992, pp. 149-61Ghetnet Metiku Woldegiorgis,Freelance Socio-Legal ResearcherE-mail: gmgiorgis@gmail.com Page 11 of 53
    • Assessment on Homelessness & the Right to Adequate Housing in Ethiopia 1st Draft Prepared on 14 January 2011The purpose of these typologies is to identify and target each category with the mostrelevant interventions customized to their needs. Finally, some definitions focus onentitlement to or the responsibility for assistance. These typologies, which are often definedby law, tend to define homelessness at three levels: general principle, exclusions and prioritygroups. For instance, the statutory definition of homelessness in the UK states that:39 aperson or household is homeless if they have no accommodation in England, Wales orScotland, or have no accommodation that they are legally entitled to occupy; excludes thosewho have become homeless ‘intentionally’, or lacking local connection, or falling outside anyof the priority-need groups40. 2.1.4. Working DefinitionThe definition of ‘homelessness’ in the context of Ethiopia has to be narrow in scope, limitedin its coverage, and use a typology based on risk or potential as described in the precedingsections. The nature of the contextual definition draws from the need to identify and addressthe situation of those most affected by homelessness and most vulnerable to its impacts.Recognizing that the ‘homeless’ are a diverse group with a range of shared and specificneeds, interventions targeting them need to be diverse in their objectives, strategies andactors. It is thus necessary that one identifies a narrower group with more shared thandiverse needs to design and implement a relevant and effective intervention. Theprioritization of these categories of ‘homeless’ is not only more pragmatic in terms ofefficiency in utilizing limited available resources, but also in line with good practice inaddressing gaps and violations in the realization of human rights.The theoretical definitions described above distinguish between three conceptions withprogressively broadening scope.41 It would thus be appropriate to examine each in definingthe conception appropriate for our working definition. 1) The narrowest conception, referred to as ‘rooflessness’ designates the absence of any form of shelter as understood in the socio-economic context. A roofless person or household lives on the street, either sleeping rough or in makeshift structures. In the Ethiopian context, the reference would be to individuals and households living and sleeping in the open, in structures such as bus stations and doorsteps of shops, or in enclosures made from flimsy materials such as plastic sheeting on fences and other structures. These are the ‘homeless’ in the strictest sense of the term since they are affected directly by the most severe effects of homelessness and should be the core reference group in our working definition.39 Neale, J., ”Homelessness and theory reconsidered”, Housing Studies, Vol. 12, No. 1, 1997, pp. 47-6140 Groups defined as being in ‘priority need’ are: households containing dependent children or a pregnant woman; people who are vulnerable in some way (due to age or physical or mental disability, etc.); or, people made homeless by an emergency such as a fire or flood41 Edgar, B., Doherty, J., and Mina-Coull A., Services for homeless people, Innovation and change in the European Union, The Policy Press, JCSHR, FEANTSA, 1999, p. 2Ghetnet Metiku Woldegiorgis,Freelance Socio-Legal ResearcherE-mail: gmgiorgis@gmail.com Page 12 of 53
    • Assessment on Homelessness & the Right to Adequate Housing in Ethiopia 1st Draft Prepared on 14 January 2011 2) The second level is ‘houselessness’ referring to situations where the individual or household in question does have a roof over its head but does not have a ‘home’ as understood in the local context. It may, for instance, be the case that one is living in an emergency accommodations or a homeless shelter. In the Ethiopian context, a person living in a charitable shelter, rooms within church grounds, or displacement camp would be a typical example. This group of individuals or households may be considered homeless people whose immediate needs have been addressed at least on a temporary basis. While our definition of homelessness should take into account the transitory nature of their status, our concern with this group should be peripheral since they are not being directly and immediately affected by homelessness. 3) The broadest level of conceptualization refers to ‘inadequate housing’ that does not satisfy the minimum conditions required to qualify as a ‘home’. Though the adequacy of housing is understood mainly in terms of quality and security issues, this conception is generally premised on standards defined by law presumably in line with the substantive content of the right to adequate housing. In the Ethiopian context, this category would include a significant percentage of the urban population living in dilapidated housing and informal settlements. The inclusion of these groups in our definition of homelessness would detract from the concerns of our intended focal group since the issues involved are distinctly different for the two groups. It may, however, be appropriate to take into account the potential role of insecure or low quality housing as a cause for the narrower conceptions of homelessness in designing preventive interventions.In relation to typology, our conception of ‘homelessness’ requires that we use a simplercategorization that distinguishes between our focal group and the peripheral groups we areinterested in. These are: People living in the street (i.e. rough sleepers and pavement dwellers); People living in makeshift shelters which do not qualify as a dwelling; People living in temporary accommodation; and, People living in low quality or insecure housing.The first two categories could be considered ‘street dwellers’ and form the focal group forinterventions on account of facing the most serious conditions pertaining to or arising fromhomelessness. Furthermore, one may consider distinctions within these focal categories toidentify those most vulnerable to the negative effects of homelessness such as youngchildren, girls, mothers with infants, the elderly, and persons with disabilities.In conclusion, the definition of ‘homelessness’ in the context of Ethiopia has to be narrow inscope focusing on ‘rooflessness’, limited in its coverage to people living in the street in urbancenters, and use a typology identifying focal and peripheral groups based on current andpotential vulnerability to the impacts of homelessness.Ghetnet Metiku Woldegiorgis,Freelance Socio-Legal ResearcherE-mail: gmgiorgis@gmail.com Page 13 of 53
    • Assessment on Homelessness & the Right to Adequate Housing in Ethiopia 1st Draft Prepared on 14 January 2011 2.2. Causes of HomelessnessTheoretically, the causes of homelessness could be analyzed from economic, social and/or 42political perspectives with corresponding solutions. From an economic point of viewhomelessness arises from failure of economic systems in producing and allocating housingresources, a problem calling for changes in economic policy. A social analysis, on the otherhand, attributes the problem to malfunctioning social relations at the household level andsuggests interventions such as family support, child protection, family mediation and theprevention of domestic violence. Finally, political analysis would point to unresponsivenessof political institutions to vulnerable social sections leading to failure to achieve equitabledistribution of housing that could only be solved by influencing the political process,including economic and social decision-making.In practice, the causes are more complex involving economic, social and political factorsmanifested differently in different contexts as well as across and within social groups. Thetwo fundamental causes of homelessness in developing countries are poverty, especiallyrural poverty, and the failure of the housing supply system. In many developing countriesrural poverty has driven large numbers of people, usually young single men, to seekemployment and economic opportunities in cities. Once in the cities they are employed inlow paying jobs in the absence of affordable accommodation. Since these rural migrants areexpected to send money back to the family, they often prefer living on the street rather thanspend money on expensive urban accommodation. However, poverty and housing shortagesalone do not necessarily lead to homelessness. Other factors such as natural disasters, rapidurbanization and eviction are important causes of homelessness in many countries.There are also strong social causes for homelessness in developing countries mainly affectingwomen and children. These social causes of homelessness include: marital breakdown orbereavement; domestic violence; deterioration of traditional extended families; and, HTPssuch as early marriage. Despite legislation protecting women’s rights, cultural attitudes indeveloping countries often sustain social rules undermining the marital, property and otherrights of women. This forces many women onto the streets, and sometimes into prostitution.Homeless women and children are also often victims of family breakdown or are escapingfamily violence. 2.3. Homelessness and Human RightsInternational human rights law recognises that every person has the right to an adequatestandard of living. This right includes the right to adequate housing.43 The right to housing ismore than simply a right to shelter. It is a right to have somewhere to live that is adequate.Whether housing is adequate depends on a range of factors including: legal security oftenure; availability of services, materials, facilities and infrastructure; affordability;42 United Nations Centre for Human Settlements (Habitat), Strategies to Combat Homelessness, Nairobi, 2000 (http://www.unchs.org)43 ICESCR, article 11; CRC, article 27; CERD, article 5(e); CEDAW, article 14(2); UDHR, article 25Ghetnet Metiku Woldegiorgis,Freelance Socio-Legal ResearcherE-mail: gmgiorgis@gmail.com Page 14 of 53
    • Assessment on Homelessness & the Right to Adequate Housing in Ethiopia 1st Draft Prepared on 14 January 2011 44accessibility; habitability; location; cultural adequacy. Homelessness involves the absenceof housing, adequate or otherwise. It thus represents the most obvious and severemanifestation of failure to realize the human right to adequate housing. (UNCHS, 1999d:paragraph 30)Homelessness also impacts on the exercise of a wide range of basic human rights by thehomeless. Some of these rights and the impacts of homelessness on their exercise are brieflydescribed below. The Right to Health: Every person has the right to enjoy the highest possible standard of health.45 However, homelessness may result in serious and persistent violations of this fundamental human right in three ways.46 First, poor physical or mental health can reduce a person’s ability to find employment or earn an adequate income thereby increasing vulnerability to homelessness.47 Second, homelessness increases vulnerability to health problems including depression, poor nutrition, substance abuse and mental health problems leading to significantly higher rates of death, disability and chronic illness among homeless persons.48 Third, homelessness exacerbates and complicates the treatment of many health problems since homeless people have significantly less access to health services.49 Right to Physical Safety: Every person has the right to liberty and security of the person.50 The physical safety of a person who is homeless is often under constant threat. Lacking a safe living environment, homeless people are more vulnerable to crime and personal attacks. Children and young people are particularly vulnerable to attacks on their personal safety and human rights law recognizes their right to special protection from sexual and other abuse.51 Women who are homeless are also at greater risk of violence and sexual abuse and are often forced into harmful situations and relationships out of need. It is vital that people experiencing homelessness are provided with adequate support to protect them from violations of their right to personal safety.44 ICESCR, General Comment 4: The right to adequate housing, [8].45 ICESCR article 12; CRC article 24; CEDAW articles 12, 14(2).46 US Institute of Medicine, Homelessness, Health and Human Needs, 1988, National Academy of Press, Washington, p39.47 Parliament of Australia Senate, Community Affairs References Committee, A Hand Up Not a Hand Out: Renewing the Fight Against Poverty, 2004, p173.48 E. Harris, P. Sainsbury and D. Nutbeam (eds), Perspectives on Health Inequity. Australian Centre for Health Promotion, University of Sydney, Sydney, 1999; A. Lucy, ‘South Eastern Sydney Area Health Service Homelessness Health Strategic Plan 2004-09’ in Parity, vol 17, no 8, 2004, pp6, 7.49 E. Harris, P. Sainsbury and D. Nutbeam (eds), Perspectives on Health Inequity, Australian Centre for Health Promotion, University of Sydney, Sydney, 1999.50 ICCPR, article 9(1)51 CRC, article 34Ghetnet Metiku Woldegiorgis,Freelance Socio-Legal ResearcherE-mail: gmgiorgis@gmail.com Page 15 of 53
    • Assessment on Homelessness & the Right to Adequate Housing in Ethiopia 1st Draft Prepared on 14 January 2011 Right to Privacy: Everyone has the right to protection against arbitrary or unlawful interference with their privacy.52 Homelessness tends to undermine enjoyment of this right. Some people experiencing homelessness may be forced to carry out their personal activities in public, activities that most people are able to do in the privacy of their own homes. Even where support is available, people living in homeless shelters or boarding houses may be required to share facilities with others, which may also threaten their right to privacy. Right to Education: Education is a basic human right and the Government must take steps to ensure that primary education and vocational education is accessible by every child.53 For homeless people, lack of legal identity, financial difficulty and insecure housing conditions make it hard to access education and training facilities. For homeless children and young people who manage to be in school, it is often an experience of marginalization. In fact, school leaving has been shown to be a key risk indicator of homelessness.54 Right to work: The right to work includes the right of every person to have the opportunity to gain a living by work that they have freely chosen or accepted.55 Homeless people face many barriers to gaining and maintaining employment. Many homeless people lack basic education and skills training, due to disrupted or incomplete schooling. They may also lack community and family connections that can assist in finding employment and providing advice on work-related issues. Lack of knowledge about employment rights and lack of bargaining power make homeless people particularly vulnerable to exploitation and discrimination at work. Right to non-discrimination: The right to be treated equally by the law and to be free from discrimination is a fundamental human right.56 A number of countries have recognized ‘homelessness’ as a ‘social status’, ‘housing status’ or ‘employment status’ within the prohibition on discrimination.57 People experiencing homelessness face persistent stigmatization and discrimination in a range of different contexts. Some of the situations in which discrimination arises have already been discussed, including access to health care, access to education and employment. Discrimination against homeless people also occurs in situations where certain laws operate in a manner that disadvantages homeless people, compared to other people in society. Such laws include rules governing eligibility for social security and voting and laws that criminalize the doing of certain activities in public space.52 ICCPR, article 17, CRC, article 16.53 ICESCR, article 13; CRC, article 28; CEDAW, articles 11, 14(2); CERD, article 5(e)54 P. Lynch, ‘Human Rights and the Supported Accommodation Assistance Program (SAAP)’ in Parity, vol 17, no 1, 2004, p 2355 ICCPR, article 6; CERD, article 5(e)56 ICCPR article 26; CERD article 5(d); CEDAW, article 257 See for example, Homeless Persons’ Legal Clinic, Promoting Equality: Homeless Persons and Discrimination, Submission regarding Discrimination on the Ground of Social Status and the Equal Opportunity Act 1995 (Vic), 2002, pp21-31Ghetnet Metiku Woldegiorgis,Freelance Socio-Legal ResearcherE-mail: gmgiorgis@gmail.com Page 16 of 53
    • Assessment on Homelessness & the Right to Adequate Housing in Ethiopia 1st Draft Prepared on 14 January 2011 Right to social security: The human right to social security imposes an obligation on the government to provide welfare necessary for subsistence to people who are unable to support themselves.58 At the outset, in order to establish entitlement to benefits, a person must satisfy strict proof of identity requirements, which disproportionately burdens homeless people who often do not have, and cannot afford to obtain official documentation that proves their identity. 59Other important rights the homeless are unable to exercise include the right to vote, theright to freedom of expression,60 and the right to freedom from cruel, inhuman or degradingtreatment or punishment.6158 ICESCR, article 9; CRC, article 26; CEDAW, articles 10, 14(2); CERD, article 5(e)59 ICCPR, article 25; CEDAW, article 7; CERD, article 5(d)60 ICCPR, article 19(2); CERD, article 5(d)61 ICCPR, article 7; CRC, article 37Ghetnet Metiku Woldegiorgis,Freelance Socio-Legal ResearcherE-mail: gmgiorgis@gmail.com Page 17 of 53
    • Assessment on Homelessness & the Right to Adequate Housing in Ethiopia 1st Draft Prepared on 14 January 20113. The Right to Adequate HousingThis section provides information on the recognition of the right to adequate housing ininternational and regional human rights instruments, the substance and components of theright to adequate housing as well as measures of implementation to be taken at the nationallevel. It is meant to provide a framework for the presentation and analysis of the nationalpolicy, legislative and programmatic measures towards the realization of the right inEthiopia. 3.1. The Basis for the Right 3.1.1. International StandardsThe right to adequate housing is founded and recognized under international law.Enunciated under article 25(1) of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the right toadequate housing has been codified in other major international human rights treaties. Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well being of himself and his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control. (Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 25(1))Article 11(1) of the ICESCR provides that "States Parties to the present Covenant recognizethe right of everyone to an adequate standard of living for himself and his family, includingadequate . . . housing, and to the continuous improvement of living conditions." Moreover,the CESCR has issued two General Comments, General Comments 4 and 7, clarifying thescope and meaning of the right to housing as enshrined in the Covenant.Similar provisions on the right to adequate housing are contained in the Convention on theElimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, the Convention on the Elimination ofDiscrimination Against Women, the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the InternationalConvention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid, and the Interna-tional Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees.Several non-binding declarations, resolutions and recommendations by the UN and itsspecialized agencies related to housing as a human right. These include: Declaration on Social Progress and Development (1969), part II, art. 10 Declaration on the Rights of Disabled Persons (1975), art. 9Ghetnet Metiku Woldegiorgis,Freelance Socio-Legal ResearcherE-mail: gmgiorgis@gmail.com Page 18 of 53
    • Assessment on Homelessness & the Right to Adequate Housing in Ethiopia 1st Draft Prepared on 14 January 2011 Vancouver Declaration on Human Settlements (1976), section III (8) International Labour Organization (ILO) Recommendation No. 115 (1961), principle 2 ILO Recommendation No. 62 Concerning Older Workers (1980), art. 5(g) Declaration on the Right to Development (1986), art. 8(1) United Nations Sub-Commission on the Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities resolution 1994/8 on "Children and the Right to Adequate Housing" adopted 23 August 23 1994 United Nations Commission on Human Rights resolution 1993/77 on "Forced Evictions," adopted on 10 March 1993 United Nations Commission on Human Settlements resolution 14/6 on "The Human Right to Adequate Housing," adopted 5 May 1993 United Nations General Assembly resolution 42/146 on the "Realization of the Right to Adequate Housing," adopted 7 December 1987, which "reiterates the need to take, at the national and international levels, measures to promote the right of all persons to an adequate standard of living for themselves and their families, including adequate housing, and calls upon all States and international organizations concerned to pay special attention to the realization of the right to adequate housing in carrying out measures to develop national shelter strategies and settlement improvement programmes within the framework of the Global Strategy for Shelter to the Year 2000." 3.1.2. Regional StandardsSeveral regional human rights instruments also guarantee to every individual the right toadequate housing. Under the Charter of the Organization of American States (OAS), article31(k), "Member States agree to dedicate every effort to achieve . . . adequate housing for allsectors of the population." The European Social Charter, the European Convention onHuman Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, the European Convention on the Legal Status ofMigrant Workers, the Resolution on Shelter for the Homeless in the European Community,and the Final Act of Helsinki all contain express provisions and references to the right toadequate housing.The African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights makes no specific mention of the right toadequate housing. However, other provisions such as the right to life (art. 4) and the right tophysical and mental health (art. 16) arguably provide a basis for the assertion of the right tohousing. However, the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights on theRights of Women in Africa (2000) (article 16) explicitly describes women’s right to equalaccess to housing and acceptable living conditions.Ghetnet Metiku Woldegiorgis,Freelance Socio-Legal ResearcherE-mail: gmgiorgis@gmail.com Page 19 of 53
    • Assessment on Homelessness & the Right to Adequate Housing in Ethiopia 1st Draft Prepared on 14 January 2011 3.2. Substance of the RightThe substance of the right to adequate housing is drawn from Article 11 (1) of the ICESCR.Moreover, the CESCR in its sixth session, in 1991, has adopted a detailed General Comment onarticle 11(1) of the Covenant dealing with the right to adequate housing.62 The followingsections are developed on the basis of this Comment (the full text has been annexed). 3.2.1. Meaning of ‘adequate’ housingThe key term in the understanding of the right to housing in the meaning of article 11(1) isadequacy (paragraph 7). While acknowledging that social, economic, cultural, climatic,ecological and other factors, in part, determine adequacy, the CESCR identified the essentialcomponents of adequacy (paragraph 8). These are: Legal security of tenure. Security of tenure means that all people in any living arrangement possess a degree of security against forced eviction, harassment, or other threats. States are obliged to confer this security legally. Availability of services, materials, facilities and infrastructure. To ensure the health, security, comfort, and nutrition of its occupants, an adequate house should have sustainable access to natural and common resources, safe drinking water, energy for cooking, heating and lighting, sanitation and washing facilities, means of food storage, refuse disposal, site drainage and emergency services. Affordability. Affordable housing is housing for which the associated financial costs are at a level that does not threaten other basic needs. States should take steps to ensure that housing costs are proportionate to overall income levels, establish subsidies for those unable to acquire affordable housing, and protect tenants against unreasonable rent levels or increases. In societies where housing is built chiefly out of natural materials, states should help ensure the availability of those materials. Habitability. Habitable housing provides the occupants with adequate space, physical security, shelter from weather, and protection from threats to health like structural hazards and disease. Accessibility. Adequate housing must be accessible to those entitled to it. This includes all disadvantaged groups of society, who may have special housing needs that require extra consideration. Location. The location of adequate housing, whether urban or rural, must permit access to employment opportunities, health care, schools, child care and other social facilities. To protect the right to health of the occupants, housing must also be separated from polluted sites or pollution sources.62 CESCR, General Comment 4, The right to adequate housing (Art. 11, para. 1 of the Covenant) (Sixth session, 1991), Compilation of General Comments and General Recommendations Adopted by Human Rights Treaty Bodies, UN Doc. HRI/GEN/1/Rev.1 at 53 (1994).Ghetnet Metiku Woldegiorgis,Freelance Socio-Legal ResearcherE-mail: gmgiorgis@gmail.com Page 20 of 53
    • Assessment on Homelessness & the Right to Adequate Housing in Ethiopia 1st Draft Prepared on 14 January 2011 Cultural adequacy. The way housing is built, the materials used, and the policies supporting these must facilitate cultural expression and housing diversity. The development and modernization of housing in general should maintain the cultural dimensions of housing while still ensuring modern technological facilities, among other things (paragraph 8).This is also highlighted by other sources such as the Commission on Human SettlementsGlobal Strategy for Shelter to the Year 2000 (1998) which provides a definition of adequacyreferring to "... adequate privacy, adequate space, adequate security, adequate lighting andventilation, adequate basic infrastructure and adequate location with regard to work and basicfacilities - all at a reasonable cost." 3.2.2. Holders of the rightThe CESCR has stated categorically that the right to adequate housing applies to everyone byclarifying that the term "himself and his family" in the wording of the provision does notimpose "any limitations upon the applicability of the right to individuals or to female headedhouseholds or other such groups. Thus, not only is the concept of ‘family’ to be understoodin a wide sense, individuals, as well as families, are entitled to adequate housing regardless ofage, economic status, group or other affiliation or status and other such factors. The issue ofnon-discrimination has especially been given attention by the Committee (paragraph 6). Onthe other hand, the Committee has stressed the need to give priority to social groups living inunfavorable conditions, and noted that policies and laws should not benefit alreadyadvantaged social groups at the expense of others. 3.2.3. Interrelationship with other rightsThe CESCR in its General Comment has noted that the right to adequate housing is to bedefined as constituting “the right not to be subjected to arbitrary or unlawful interference withone’s privacy, family, home or correspondence " and cannot be realized without "the fullenjoyment of other rights” (paragraph 9). The ‘other rights’ referred to in the CESCRsGeneral Comment 4 are rights without the enjoyment of which the fulfillment of the right tohousing is threatened or impossible. They include: the principle of non-discrimination;freedom of expression; freedom of association; freedom of residence (and the right tofreedom of movement); the right to participate in public decision-making; and, the right tosecurity of person (in the case of forced or arbitrary evictions or other forms of harassment).In addition, the right to housing provides a foundation that increases the likelihood of theachievement of other human rights. These include: the right to family; the right to participatein government; the right to work; the right to rest and leisure; the right to food and water;the right to the highest attainable level of physical and mental health; the right to education;and, the right to participate in the cultural life of the community.Recent developments in the body of international human rights law reaffirm that the right toadequate housing is guaranteed to traditionally disenfranchised members of society, includ-ing women, internally displaced persons, and refugees. In August 1998, the Sub-CommissionGhetnet Metiku Woldegiorgis,Freelance Socio-Legal ResearcherE-mail: gmgiorgis@gmail.com Page 21 of 53
    • Assessment on Homelessness & the Right to Adequate Housing in Ethiopia 1st Draft Prepared on 14 January 2011on the Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities urged governments, in viewof the fact that "women’s experiences of poverty are particularly severe and prohibit womenfrom escaping the poverty trap," to "review their laws, policies, customs and traditionspertaining to land, property and housing rights, [and] to amend and repeal laws and policies . . .which deny women security of tenure and equal access and rights to land, property andhousing."63 The sub-commission has also recognized the right of refugees and internallydisplaced persons to the free and fair exercise of their "right to return to [their] home andplace of habitual place of residence," while stating that "the right to adequate housing includesthe right of protection for returning refugees and internally displaced persons against beingcompelled to return to their homes and places of habitual residence."64 3.3. Implementation of the RightWhen a State ratifies any binding international agreement it takes on obligations underinternational law to implement it. Generally, the basic obligations of States Parties to aninternational instrument relate to three mutually supporting obligations: obligation torespect, obligation to protect and obligation to fulfill. However, most agreementscomplement this international law framework on the obligations of states by incorporatingspecific provisions on measures of implementation. 3.3.1. Obligations of StatesState obligations vis-à-vis the right to adequate housing are frequently misunderstood. Theydo not mean that the state is required to build housing for the entire population, or thathousing should be provided free of charge to the populace, or even that this right will mani-fest itself in the same manner in all places at all times. Rather, recognition of the right tohousing by a state means the State: undertakes to endeavor by all appropriate means to ensure that everyone has access to affordable and acceptable housing; will take a series of measures which indicate policy and legislative recognition of each of the constituent aspects of the right to housing; and, will protect and improve houses and neighborhoods rather than damage or destroy them.The essential elements of the state’s obligation to implement all ESC rights (including theright to adequate housing) are encapsulated under article 2(1) of the ICESCR.It stated that, regardless of their level of development, states must take certain steps im-mediately to guarantee the right. One such step is monitoring to ascertain the full extent ofhomelessness and inadequate housing within its jurisdiction (paragraph 10). Moreover, theCESCR has, while acknowledging that economic crises arising from external factors may have63 SC Res. 1998/15, UN Doc. E/CN.4/Sub.2/RES/1998/15 (21 Aug. 1998)64 SC Res. 1998/26, UN Doc. E/CN.4/Sub.2/RES/1998/26 (26 Aug. 1998)Ghetnet Metiku Woldegiorgis,Freelance Socio-Legal ResearcherE-mail: gmgiorgis@gmail.com Page 22 of 53
    • Assessment on Homelessness & the Right to Adequate Housing in Ethiopia 1st Draft Prepared on 14 January 2011a bearing on the right, has stressed that "the obligations under the Covenant continue toapply and are perhaps even more pertinent during times of economic contraction" (GeneralComment 4, paragraph 11). It would be inconsistent with obligations under the Covenant ifliving and housing conditions decline because of policy and legislative decisions taken bystates parties. It also identified the adoption of a national housing strategy as an importantstep.In addition, article 2(2) of the Covenant prohibits discrimination of any kind as to race, color,sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth orother status, in the exercise of the rights enunciated in the Covenant. This provision can andshould be used as the basis for addressing several institutional, legal and cultural barriers toaccess of women to land and housing.A substantial proportion of international assistance should be devoted to creating conditionsleading to a higher number of persons being adequately housed. The CESCR also stressedthat "international financial institutions promoting measures of structural adjustment shouldensure that such measures do not compromise the enjoyment of the right to adequatehousing" (paragraph 19). 3.3.2. Legal StrategiesHousing rights are determinate and justiciable. Direct arguments in support of the right toadequate housing can be founded on legally binding provisions contained in international,regional or national laws. The CESCR has stated that many elements of the right to adequatehousing are consistent with domestic legal remedies. It has identified the following areas inwhich the domestic legal system could play a role in safeguarding the right to housing: (a) Legal appeals aimed at preventing planned evictions or demolitions through the issuance of court ordered injunctions; (b) Legal procedures seeking compensation following an illegal eviction; (c) Complaints against illegal actions carried out or supported by landlords (whether public or private) in relation to rent levels dwelling maintenance, and racial or other forms of discrimination; (d) Allegations of any form of discrimination in the allocation and availability of ac- cess to housing; and (e) Complaints against landlords concerning unhealthy or inadequate housing conditions. In some legal systems it would also be appropriate to explore the possibility of facilitating class action suits in situations involving significantly increased levels of homelessness.In addition to seeking enforcement of rights by using standards directly related to the rightto housing, cases can be filed using derivative claims. For example, the right to adequatehousing may be implied from express guarantees of other rights (e.g., the right to life, pri-Ghetnet Metiku Woldegiorgis,Freelance Socio-Legal ResearcherE-mail: gmgiorgis@gmail.com Page 23 of 53
    • Assessment on Homelessness & the Right to Adequate Housing in Ethiopia 1st Draft Prepared on 14 January 2011vacy of the home, right to family life) that are generally recognized as basic civil and politicalrights. 3.3.3. Non-legal strategiesLegal strategies should be combined with other strategies to ensure the full realization of theright to housing. Effective guarantees of housing rights require consultation, dialogue, nego-tiation and compromise rather than coercion, force, repression and exclusion. Support-based strategies that recognize the role of the informal sector in the creation of housingmust be developed and implemented. In the final analysis, the full realization of the right toadequate housing would depend on the extent of awareness and action taken for ensuringits enjoyment. Other key strategies for action on the right to adequate housing mayinclude: research; education; monitoring; mobilization; participation (neighborhoodnetworks); negotiation; constituency building; intersectoral collaboration; development ofmodel national housing plans; and budget analysis. 3.4. Approaches to HomelessnessAlthough most states do not stipulate a clear right to housing, they do have legislation andnational programs related to housing. In fact, UN-Habitat reports that 75% of the world’scountries have constitutions or national laws that promote the full and progressiverealization of the right to adequate housing. Legal protections of the right to housing at thenational level often involve arbitrary eviction, safety and health regulations, or equalprotection and non-discrimination issues.In many countries housing policy is oriented around securing the affordability of housing,which is an issue for both potential homeowners and renters. According to UN-Habitat’sState of the World’s Cities (2001), households in cities of developing countries need anaverage of 12.5 times their annual income to buy a house. The highest rents exist in theMiddle East, where a household spends an average of 45% of its monthly income on rent. Thecreation of affordable housing generally involves Governments subsidizing the cost ofbuilding new housing, stabilizing rent, or offering loans or credit at a low-interest rate.Eligibility for public or subsidized housing is usually determined by a low income, and demandis especially high in urban areas.Citizens who feel the satisfaction of their right to housing is in jeopardy may pursue a varietyof legal and non-legal strategies to assert their rights. Legal strategies include legal appealsto prevent planned evictions or demolitions through court-ordered injunctions, legalprocedures to obtain compensation following an illegal eviction, complaints against illegalactions carried out by landlords in relation to rent levels, maintenance, or discrimination,allegations of discrimination in the allocation or availability of housing, complaints aboutunhealthy or inadequate housing and class action suits related to significantly increasedlevels of homelessness.Most states have programs designed to address the immediate issues of homelessness,although these programs are usually operated on a local level. Homeless shelters andtemporary housing provide shelter for those in need as well as other services such asGhetnet Metiku Woldegiorgis,Freelance Socio-Legal ResearcherE-mail: gmgiorgis@gmail.com Page 24 of 53
    • Assessment on Homelessness & the Right to Adequate Housing in Ethiopia 1st Draft Prepared on 14 January 2011counseling, job training, and advocacy to help people move towards a position from whichthey can obtain and maintain their own housing. Most governments also have plans andprograms for aid to victims of natural disasters who have lost their homes. The followingtable summarizes the range of often overlapping approaches adopted by States to tacklehomelessness. While the reference here is to national responses in the industrializedsocieties of Europe, some lessons could be drawn and contextualized in the developingnation context.Table 3: Approaches to Homelessness Designation Short Description Elements of the ApproachEvidence-based A good understanding of the Monitoring and documentation of trends in problem of homelessness is homelessness and numbers of homeless people, key to developing effective and development of appropriate indicators policies Research and analysis on the causes of and solutions to homelessness should complement monitoring and documentation Regular revision of policies is necessary and most effective with a sound understanding of homelessness.Comprehensive includes policies on Emergency services are a crucial first step to emergency services and prevent people from living on the street for long resettlement of people who periods are homeless, and on the Integration should be the objective for all prevention of homelessness people who are homeless and should be adapted to the needs and potential or the individual person who is homeless Prevention – both targeted prevention (evictions, discharges from institutions) and systemic prevention (through general housing, education, and employment policies) are necessary.Multi- Homelessness is Integrating housing, health, employment,dimensional acknowledged to be a education and training and other perspectives in phenomenon requiring a homeless strategy, since the routes in and out solutions based on multi- of homelessness can be very diverse dimensional approaches Interagency working and general cooperation with other sectors as a vital component of every effective homeless strategy since homelessness cannot be tackled in a sustainable way by the homeless sector only Interdepartmental working between relevant housing, employment, health and other ministries is crucial for developing effective strategies to tackle homelessness, and to avoid negative repercussions of policies developed in different fields.Rights-based promotes access to decent, Use of international treaties on housing rights as stable housing as the a basis for developing a homeless strategyGhetnet Metiku Woldegiorgis,Freelance Socio-Legal ResearcherE-mail: gmgiorgis@gmail.com Page 25 of 53
    • Assessment on Homelessness & the Right to Adequate Housing in Ethiopia 1st Draft Prepared on 14 January 2011 indispensable precondition for Focus on enforceable right to housing to ensure the exercise of most of the the effective exercise of the right to housing other fundamental rights Acknowledgement of the interdependence of housing and other rights such as the right to live in dignity, the right to health.Participatory cooperation with service Involvement of all stakeholders (namely service providers is crucial given their providers, service users and public authorities) expertise on how to tackle the in policy development and evaluation is problem, and entails important for pooling all expertise and capacity participation available aiming to tackling homelessness Involvement of all stakeholders in implementing policy through a coordinated effort is the best way to achieve the objectives of any homeless strategy Participation of people experiencing homelessness should be used for the improvement of service quality and policymaking. Appropriate consultation structures should be created to take real account of the experience of people who are homeless.Statutory aims to underpin homeless A legal framework at national level/regional strategies with legislation level, which allows for consistency and accountability in implementation of homeless policies Statutory aims and objectives serve to effectively monitor and evaluate policy progress.Sustainable create a genuinely sustainable Adequate funding is crucial for any long-term approach leading to strategy to tackle and end homelessness sustainable solutions Political commitment at all levels (national, regional and local) Public support generated through information and awareness campaigns.Needs-based policies should be developed The needs of the individual are the starting point according to existing needs of for policy development on the basis of regular the homeless than structural needs surveys and by means of individualized needs of organisations integration plans Appropriate revision of homelessness policies and structures is necessary on a regular basis.Pragmatic Realistic and achievable adequate research to understand the nature and objectives are necessary and scope of homelessness, needs of the homeless, possible evolution of the housing and labour market and all other related areas A clear and realistic time schedule with long- term targets as well as intermediate targets.Bottom-up developing policy responses Importance of local authorities for the to homelessness at local level implementation of homeless strategies through (within a clear national or a shift towards greater involvement, moreGhetnet Metiku Woldegiorgis,Freelance Socio-Legal ResearcherE-mail: gmgiorgis@gmail.com Page 26 of 53
    • Assessment on Homelessness & the Right to Adequate Housing in Ethiopia 1st Draft Prepared on 14 January 2011 regional framework) responsibility and more binding duties at local level Bringing service delivery closer to people who are homeless with local authorities in a strong position to coordinate partnerships between all relevant actors in the fight to end homelessness.Source: FEANTSA, Ending Homelessness: A Handbook for Policy Makers, 2010The key lesson here is that the issue of homelessness should be achieved at two mutuallysupportive levels: measures to realize the right to adequate housing, and measures toaddress the impacts of homelessness. The first seeks to address the structural needs forhousing and social infrastructure for the very poor, to prevent the occurrence ofhomelessness. The shortage of suitable housing is often the root causes of homelessnessamong households in developing countries. In many countries, there are just too fewdwellings for everyone and this hits poorer households hardest as they miss out in themarket. There is, thus, a need for much more housing as the priority. There is usually also aneed for more housing of a type that the poorest households can afford. It should be: cheap;built in labour intensive technologies to provide lots of work; situated close to sources ofwork, and serviced to a minimum level to keep costs down.The second, on the other hand, involves measures to protect, assist and bring those who arecurrently homeless back into mainstream society. The logical starting point for interventionstargeting the homeless is establishing a system whereby their legal identity could beascertained. Once this is achieved, one could proceed to protecting their safety and makingservices accessible to the homeless. The following are some immediately identifiable 65interventions to this end: Decriminalizing street sleeping and other behavior arising out of homelessness; Establishing and maintaining public water and sanitation points around cities to improve the health of street sleepers; Making available security ‘lockers’ for their belongings to reduce vulnerability to crime; Setting up places of safe refuge for abused women and children to reduce rape and sexual abuse; and, Provision of accessible social, medical and legal support.Though the importance of shelter of some type is obvious, this need not mean buildingspecial accommodation or night shelters. It may be sufficient initially to help people move65 Dr A. G. Tipple and Suzanne Speak, The Nature and Extent of Homelessness in Developing Countries, Global Urban Research Unit (GURU), University of Newcastle upon Tyne, DFID Project No. R7905, 2003Ghetnet Metiku Woldegiorgis,Freelance Socio-Legal ResearcherE-mail: gmgiorgis@gmail.com Page 27 of 53
    • Assessment on Homelessness & the Right to Adequate Housing in Ethiopia 1st Draft Prepared on 14 January 2011just one step up from sleeping rough, for example by providing some bedding, water andsanitation, to make life on the streets safer, more comfortable and more dignified. Whereempty buildings are available, legitimizing their use as shelters and centers for the provisionof additional support services could be considered.Interventions to support homeless women and children must begin with work to change theculture of family abuse and violence which is so often the cause of their homelessness. Inpractical terms, what is needed for many homeless women in developing countries is saferefuge and support to prevent them having to turn to crime, begging or prostitution, or newviolent relationships in order to feed their children.For any such intervention to be successful in supporting homeless people or reducinghomelessness there needs to be a culture of care and support. It is vital that all key actorsinclude homeless people in planning and implementing programs aimed at improving theirsituation. Another important consideration is the involvement of key stakeholders, especiallycurrent and potential service providers in decision-making at the policy and legislative levelsas well as the design and implementation of national programs led by mandated governmentinstitutions. Through NGOs and individuals, policy makers can learn of the priorities ofdifferent groups of homeless people and respond in a targeted way to their differing needsfor shelter, security and services.Ghetnet Metiku Woldegiorgis,Freelance Socio-Legal ResearcherE-mail: gmgiorgis@gmail.com Page 28 of 53
    • Assessment on Homelessness & the Right to Adequate Housing in Ethiopia 1st Draft Prepared on 14 January 20114. Responses to Homelessness and its Impacts in Ethiopia 4.1. Ratification of International and Regional Human Rights InstrumentsEthiopia is a signatory to the UDHR and has ratified the major international and regionalhuman rights instruments including the International Covenant on Economic, Social andCultural Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the Convention onthe Rights of the Child, the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discriminationagainst Women (CEDAW) and the African Charter on Human and peoples’ Rights. Table 4: Major Human Rights Instruments Ratified by the Government of Ethiopia Instrument Date RatifiedThe International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights June 11, 1993The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights June 11, 1993International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial June 23, 1976DiscriminationConvention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhumane or Degrading March 14, 1994TreatmentConvention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against September 10,Women 1981Convention on the Rights of the Child May 14, 1991African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights June 2, 1998These instruments set down international standard for the protection and promotion ofhuman rights, including the right to adequate housing. (See previous chapter) 4.2. Constitutional Recognition of the Right to Adequate HousingThe 1995 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Ethiopia has an in-built mechanism ofincorporating international laws as it has provisions which makes all internationalagreements ratified by Ethiopia part of the law of the land. Article 13/2 of the constitution hasa specific provision for international human rights instruments such as the UNCRC, UNDHR,ICCPR, and ICESER which also provide standards for the interpretation of the Constitution inmatters related to fundamental human rights. Ethiopia is also a party to the ICESCR thatcontains explicit provision for the right to adequate housing. According to the Constitutionthis international human rights instrument is part of the law of the land. Hence the rightscontained in the Convention constitute the legal framework for the right to housing.The Constitution provides for the right to property including immovable property on land.Although the Constitution does not contain an explicit article guaranteeing the right tohousing, it contains provisions under which the right is included. The Constitution states thatthe state has the obligation to allocate increasing resources to give to the public socialservices including education and health. It is no doubt that the right to housing falls underthis open ended provision. Moreover, the Constitution, under the social objectives set to beGhetnet Metiku Woldegiorgis,Freelance Socio-Legal ResearcherE-mail: gmgiorgis@gmail.com Page 29 of 53
    • Assessment on Homelessness & the Right to Adequate Housing in Ethiopia 1st Draft Prepared on 14 January 2011followed by the government, demands the framing of policies, as far as resources allow,including the provision of access to housing, among other social services, for all.Article 41(3) states that every Ethiopian national has the right to equal access to publiclyfunded social services while article 41(4) imposes obligation on the state to allocate its everincreasing resources to provide to the public social services. Similarly, article 41(5) of theConstitution imposes duty on the state, within the available means, to allocate resources toprovide assistance to the physically and mentally disabled, the aged and the children who areleft without parents or guardians. Further, article 90(1) mentions housing as one of theguiding policy principles. So, under article 41(3) and (4), the publicly funded social services towhich all Ethiopian nationals have the right to equal access and which the government isobligated to provide can be interpreted to include housing services. Under article 41(5), theterm assistance can be interpreted to include housing provisions if the category of peoplementioned are in need of them. Under article 90(1), housing itself is expressly mentioned.Hence, the issue of housing is apparently covered by these provisions. 4.3. Legislative MeasuresEthiopia does not yet have specific legislation dealing with the right to adequate housing.However, there are some laws which have a bearing on the enjoyment of the right tohousing. One such legislation is the Condominium Proclamation enacted in 2003.66 ThisProclamation was designed ‘to implement other alternatives of urban land use in addition toplot basis urban land use to narrow the imbalance between the demand for and supply ofhousing’ and the creation of favourable conditions, for private developers and co-operatives,to contribute towards the development of condominium houses for sale or lease.67The other legislative measure that can be mentioned as having indirect pertinence to theright to housing is the Appropriation of Land for Government works and Payment of 68Compensation for Property Proclamation (Appropriation Proclamation). This Proclamationis designed to improve the procedures by which government can appropriate land to carryout developmental works in the interest of the public, and the procedures for the valuationof property to be affected by appropriation of land to compensate the owners thereof. Thisis particularly important because, unlike the Condominium Proclamation, the scope ofapplication of the Appropriation Proclamation is not limited territorially. It can apply to allparts of the country particularly the rural areas where many people possess land and land isusually appropriated for developmental activities thereby affecting their shelter or houses.66 Condominium Proclamation, Proclamation No.370/2003, Federal Negarit Gazeta of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, 200367 Preamble and article 39 of the Condominium Proclamation68 Appropriation of Land for Government works and Payment of Compensation for Property Proclamation, Proclamation 401/2004, Federal Negarit Gazeta of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, 2004Ghetnet Metiku Woldegiorgis,Freelance Socio-Legal ResearcherE-mail: gmgiorgis@gmail.com Page 30 of 53
    • Assessment on Homelessness & the Right to Adequate Housing in Ethiopia 1st Draft Prepared on 14 January 2011 4.4. Non-Legislative MeasuresThe government has taken non-legislative measures towards addressing the problem ofhousing prevalent in the country, especially in urban areas. Among the initiatives taken arethe construction of condominiums and their distribution to lower income groups. Thisproject, which has been initially confined to major towns, has been expanded in coverage toall urban areas countrywide. For instance, in Gondar, a city where the middle and lower classof the society face housing problems, the construction of condominium houses for about3000 households every year is planned. In Mekelle and other urban areas, thousands of low-cost condominium houses are to be constructed to address the problem of housing in thecoming four years. In Ambo, condominium houses are being constructed and theconstruction is being speeded up to alleviate the housing problem in the town. Further, thegovernment is planning to construct many low-cost condominiums houses in other urbanareas such as Harar. In order to promote the construction of houses, the governmentprovides credit facilities for those who form cooperatives to build condominiums. Otheractivities include the licensing of private housing providers (real-estate investors) to engagein and contribute to the construction of houses and the reduction of bank interest rates onhousing loans. 4.5. AssessmentEthiopia faces serious challenges and gaps in addressing the right to adequate housingespecially in urban areas where housing problems are entrenched.69 The irregular pattern ofurban growth across the country has led to the emergence of slums’70 and homelessnessacross the country. This is especially true for the capital Addis Ababa where housing is aserious problem in terms of availability and quality.71 According to one study,72 75% of the total population of the city is living in overcrowded houses or dilapidated structures, under unhygienic conditions, lacking basic urban services like safe drinking water and sewage, and in sprawling informal settlements with growing number of shacks. 85% of the housing structures in Addis Ababa are dilapidated and would have to be demolished or rehabilitated in a costly manner. They are in their major without the minimum basic infrastructure such as flushing toilets and connection to the sewer system.69 Though the ‘right to adequate housing’ is applicable to rural areas as much as urban areas, the focus here is on the urban aspect of the problem. This is informed by the characterization of the issue as well as availability of information.70 Daniel Tadesse, Reflections on the Situation of Urban Cadastres in Ethiopia, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, April 7, 200671 Azeb Kelemework Bihon, Housing for the poor in Addis Ababa, p. 372 Addis Ababa Housing Development Project Office, Low Cost Housing Technical Manual, April 2005Ghetnet Metiku Woldegiorgis,Freelance Socio-Legal ResearcherE-mail: gmgiorgis@gmail.com Page 31 of 53
    • Assessment on Homelessness & the Right to Adequate Housing in Ethiopia 1st Draft Prepared on 14 January 2011 An estimated 80% of the 150,000 kebele houses have serious problems of maintenance and are in a very bad shape. Up to 50% of the population is without fixed employment. The accumulated housing backlog is estimated to be 300,000 units. Moreover, 60,000 units are needed to accommodate the population increase of 7-8% p.a. mainly as a result of migration from rural areas.Many other urban areas such as Gondor;73 Dire Dawa and Harar;74 Mekelle, Adigrat, ShireEndasillasie, Maichew and Humera;75 and Ambo76 also have similar housing problems.73 Brief Description on the Problems and Project Ideas of the City of Gondar, prepared by City Council of Gondar, 10 January 200674 Eskinder Michael, EthioBlog - Ethiopia - Condos on rent for millennium75 Mekelle Housing Development Agency, Launching construction of condominium houses76 Ethiopian Reporter: Ambo Town Constructing Condominium HousesGhetnet Metiku Woldegiorgis,Freelance Socio-Legal ResearcherE-mail: gmgiorgis@gmail.com Page 32 of 53
    • Assessment on Homelessness & the Right to Adequate Housing in Ethiopia 1st Draft Prepared on 14 January 20115. Recommendations 5.1. General RecommendationsThe national response to homelessness should be considered at two levels: measures toaddress housing needs for the poor in the context of the right to adequate housing; and,measures to realize the rights of persons vulnerable to and/or affected by homelessness.1. Measures to address housing needs for the poor in the context of the right to adequate housing:77 1.1. Regular reporting status of treaty implementation to the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights 1.2. Enactment and implementation of legislation on right to adequate housing (which includes for example regularization of tenancy, forbidding discrimination in the housing sector, supporting housing sector by tax reliefs, subsidies for low-income households etc …) 1.3. Development and implementation of a national housing policy statement/strategy for the progressive implementation of measures for the right to adequate housing2. Measures to realize the rights of persons vulnerable to and/or affected by homelessness:78 2.1. Developing and implementing a legislative and policy framework for the protection and promotion of the rights of persons vulnerable to and/or affected by homelessness 2.1.1. Enactment and implementation of legislation on security of tenure, equal inheritance, protection against forced eviction, equal right of women and men to housing 2.1.2. Development and implementation of strategic document (national plan of action) based on a comprehensive, systematic approach to addressing the different facets of homelessness through a participatory process. 2.2. Designing and implementing prevention and early intervention programs to reduce vulnerability to homelessness77 These measures arise from a perspective of homelessness as non-realization of the right to adequate housing78 Here, homelessness is viewed mainly as the cause for violation of the rights of the homelessGhetnet Metiku Woldegiorgis,Freelance Socio-Legal ResearcherE-mail: gmgiorgis@gmail.com Page 33 of 53
    • Assessment on Homelessness & the Right to Adequate Housing in Ethiopia 1st Draft Prepared on 14 January 2011 2.3. Designing and implementing prevention and early intervention programs aimed at improving and expanding services for the homeless 2.4. Designing and implementing prevention and early intervention programs for the rehabilitation and reintegration of homeless persons into mainstream society 5.2. Specific RecommendationsThe role of the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission within the national response tohomelessness should take into account the mandates and capacities of the Commission aswell as the nature of the problem. In line with its core objectives, the interventions of theEHRC aiming to address homelessness (both as a violation of the right to adequate housingand a situation leading to non-realization of the rights of the homeless) relate to the legaland policy framework, capacities of key actors, and human rights monitoring. As a corollaryto these core mandates (and as part of its overall responsibilities to improve the situation ofthe homeless and status of their rights), the Commission should also engage in supportingdirect service provision to those affected by or vulnerable to the problem. The following arethe major areas of intervention recommended for the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission:1. Strengthening the national legislative and policy framework on the right to adequate housing and the protection of persons vulnerable to and affected by homelessness 1.1. Review of existing legislation on the right to adequate housing, protection of the homeless and operational environment for key institutional actors and forwarding recommendations. 1.2. Review of existing policy on the right to adequate housing, protection of the homeless and operational environment for key institutional actors and forwarding recommendations. 1.3. Develop a Homelessness Charter: This is a Statement of Rights intended to improve the circumstances of homeless people by raising community awareness and promoting a rights-based approach to homelessness service delivery.2. Homelessness Service Sector Capacity Building: building the skills and capacity of services and staff to provide homelessness assistance services in a way which is holistic, inclusive, integrated, respectful and rights-based. 2.1. Conducting capacity needs assessments at the sector, organizational and individual/staff levels, and designing a capacity building intervention that focuses on organizational structures, systems, processes, resources, procedures and management as well as provision of services. 2.2. Support to organizational development activities through small-grant projects towards the development of protocols, guidelines and operational manuals and provision of capacity building training to professionals responsible for the provision of services to the homeless.Ghetnet Metiku Woldegiorgis,Freelance Socio-Legal ResearcherE-mail: gmgiorgis@gmail.com Page 34 of 53
    • Assessment on Homelessness & the Right to Adequate Housing in Ethiopia 1st Draft Prepared on 14 January 2011 2.3. Developing comprehensive, clear and uniform guidelines and protocols on process and quality of service provision (housing assistance service standards and information management systems) to support quality services for people experiencing homelessness that delivers ongoing improvement and better integration of services delivered by specialist homelessness and allied and mainstream organisations.3. Putting in place a comprehensive and rights-based monitoring framework on homelessness 3.1. Establishing the baseline: The success of any intervention is for the most part a function of its relevance to the problems, needs and interests of the intended intermediate and ultimate beneficiaries. As such, the first step in designing any intervention should be creating a reliable and comprehensive information basis on the situation of target groups. Information so acquired should further be analyzed in a process involving the same target groups to identify the key problems and their structural causes. It is only then that a relevant intervention could be designed. Research on the status of the right to adequate housing and situation of the homeless should thus be a priority engagement. 3.2. Prepare a national Homelessness Monitoring Information Strategy: Such a strategy should be developed in consultation with all relevant stakeholders: establish a coordinating mechanism or agency for homelessness data collection; adopt a harmonized definition of living situations and homelessness as a basic framework for data collection; and identify a set of standard core variables and their definition as a basic set of variables to be employed in data collection. 3.3. Establish and maintain a directory/database of services for homeless people: This task starts with the adoption of a national definition of services for homelessness. A strategy for collection of data from service providers should also be developed and integrated into the regulatory system for homeless service providers (e.g. establishment of client registration systems and mandatory provision of anonymized client data as well as funding/allocations for service provision). Mechanisms should also be put in place to ensure added value of data collection for the services and homeless people.4. Initiating and/or supporting model projects for direct service provision to the homeless: As a national human rights institution, the core mandates of the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission relate mainly to the policy and legislative framework, building capacities of key human rights actors, and empowerment of the rights holders. With the exception of compliant handling, direct service provision by the Commission may not be considered a major area of engagement. However, in exercising its mandate to ensure that human rights are respected by all actors, the Commission has to engage in more direct support to and even provision of services relevant to the realization of human rights. This may be done through joint projects with selected human rights actors or allocation of grants to selected interventions. The following is a list of service modalities that may be initiatedGhetnet Metiku Woldegiorgis,Freelance Socio-Legal ResearcherE-mail: gmgiorgis@gmail.com Page 35 of 53
    • Assessment on Homelessness & the Right to Adequate Housing in Ethiopia 1st Draft Prepared on 14 January 2011 and/or supported by the Commission as model projects for the provision of preventive, supportive and rehabilitative services for persons vulnerable to or affected by homelessness: 4.1. Emergency prevention: The most efficient and effective strategy to address homelessness is to prevent it from happening in the first place. One preventive strategy to achieve this end is through programs designed to identify and support vulnerable populations. Integration with existing interventions, such as social security systems and emergency assistance services, is considered a priority over programming from scratch. 4.2. Systems prevention: Many people who fall into homelessness do so after release from custodial institutions, mental health programs and other medical care facilities. By creating a clear path to housing from those institutions, typically in the form of case management, access to services, or housing assistance programs, it is possible to reduce the number of homeless and plug one source of homelessness. The relative accessibility of institutionalized persons and the role of the Commission in monitoring places of detention may represent an opportunity that could be utilized if this intervention modality is to be selected as a model project. 4.3. Public outreach: This modality of service provision involves working directly with homeless persons within communities. Typically, a trained community worker locates, contacts, and collects information on individual persons living on the street. The information is then used as a basis for the provision of relevant services to homeless persons or referrals to other service providers, as appropriate. In addition to the obvious advantage of eliciting reliable qualitative data on the situation of the homeless, public outreach enables the meaningful participation of the homeless and those at risk of homelessness in the design and implementation of services. However, due to the significant human and other resources required, such interventions tend to be localized (limited in scope and coverage). A more appropriate approach for the Commission may be to provide support to local institutions, preferably already engaged in the provision of services to the homeless, to conduct outreach programs. 4.4. Drop-in centers: These are service centers that provide homeless persons with walk- in access to crisis intervention and ongoing supportive services on a self-referral basis. Services made available at drop-in centers include psycho-social support, education and recreational services. Again, the nature and size of resource requirements generally preclude the establishment of drop-in centers by the Commission and make support to existing centers (or to the establishment of new ones) more likely. 4.5. Emergency shelter: These are similar to drop-in centers in terms of providing homeless persons walk-in access to on-site services and referrals to other providers. What distinguishes emergency shelters is the availability of short-term residential care on an emergency basis. They also target more specific groups vulnerable toGhetnet Metiku Woldegiorgis,Freelance Socio-Legal ResearcherE-mail: gmgiorgis@gmail.com Page 36 of 53
    • Assessment on Homelessness & the Right to Adequate Housing in Ethiopia 1st Draft Prepared on 14 January 2011 abuse and exploitation, usually women and children, from among the homeless. Since the services relevant to such groups are more specialized, direct provision of emergency shelter services by the Commission would be very difficult. 4.6. Transitional living services: These are interventions designed to assist homeless persons in finding and maintaining safe housing including through rental assistance and related supportive services ensuring that homelessness does not reoccur. Unlike shelters providing temporary living space, these services assist the person to find and maintain his/her own transitional housing. The use of these services both as preventive (e.g. for persons made vulnerable to homelessness due to long institutionalization) as well as rehabilitative (for previously homeless) measures can be effective if coupled with education, training, employment or income generation related support. However, sustainability is a major concern. The Commission may consider this modality of service provision as a model project in the context of persons released from custodial institutions. 4.7. Permanent Housing: At its root, homelessness is the result of the inability to afford and maintain housing. Any plan to end homelessness must incorporate an investment in creating affordable housing. This includes supportive housing, which is permanent housing coupled with supportive services. This is often used for the chronically homeless population, i.e. people experiencing long-term or repeated homelessness due to persisting causes such as mental or physical disabilities. The direct engagement of the Commission in the provision of permanent housing is very unlikely, unless considered in the context of integration into existing housing projects. 4.8. Income generation and financial support: In order to maintain housing, people exiting homelessness must have income. Cash assistance programs and career- based employment services can help formerly homeless people build the skills necessary to increase their income. Again, integration into mainstream services is likely to be more appropriate for the Commission.Ghetnet Metiku Woldegiorgis,Freelance Socio-Legal ResearcherE-mail: gmgiorgis@gmail.com Page 37 of 53
    • Assessment on Homelessness & the Right to Adequate Housing in Ethiopia 1st Draft Prepared on 14 January 20116. Annexes 6.1. References 6.2. Summary of international and regional standards 6.2.1. CESCR General Comment 4Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, General Comment 4, The right toadequate housing (Sixth session, 1991), U.N. Doc. E/1992/23, annex III at 114 (1991), reprintedin Compilation of General Comments and General Recommendations Adopted by HumanRights Treaty Bodies, U.N. Doc. HRI/GEN/1/Rev.6 at 18 (2003). *1. Pursuant to article 11 (1) of the Covenant, States parties "recognize the right of everyone toan adequate standard of living for himself and his family, including adequate food, clothingand housing, and to the continuous improvement of living conditions". The human right toadequate housing, which is thus derived from the right to an adequate standard of living, isof central importance for the enjoyment of all economic, social and cultural rights.2. The Committee has been able to accumulate a large amount of information pertaining tothis right. Since 1979, the Committee and its predecessors have examined 75 reports dealingwith the right to adequate housing. The Committee has also devoted a day of generaldiscussion to the issue at each of its third (see E/1989/22, para. 312) and fourth sessions(E/1990/23, paras. 281-285). In addition, the Committee has taken careful note of informationgenerated by the International Year of Shelter for the Homeless (1987) including the GlobalStrategy for Shelter to the Year 2000 adopted by the General Assembly in its resolution42/191 of 11 December 1987. a The Committee has also reviewed relevant reports and otherdocumentation of the Commission on Human Rights and the Sub-Commission on Preventionof Discrimination and Protection of Minorities. b3. Although a wide variety of international instruments address the different dimensions ofthe right to adequate housing c article 11 (1) of the Covenant is the most comprehensive andperhaps the most important of the relevant provisions.4. Despite the fact that the international community has frequently reaffirmed theimportance of full respect for the right to adequate housing, there remains a disturbinglylarge gap between the standards set in article 11 (1) of the Covenant and the situationprevailing in many parts of the world. While the problems are often particularly acute insome developing countries which confront major resource and other constraints, theGhetnet Metiku Woldegiorgis,Freelance Socio-Legal ResearcherE-mail: gmgiorgis@gmail.com Page 38 of 53
    • Assessment on Homelessness & the Right to Adequate Housing in Ethiopia 1st Draft Prepared on 14 January 2011Committee observes that significant problems of homelessness and inadequate housing alsoexist in some of the most economically developed societies. The United Nations estimatesthat there are over 100 million persons homeless worldwide and over 1 billion inadequatelyhoused. d There is no indication that this number is decreasing. It seems clear that no Stateparty is free of significant problems of one kind or another in relation to the right to housing.5. In some instances, the reports of States parties examined by the Committee haveacknowledged and described difficulties in ensuring the right to adequate housing. For themost part, however, the information provided has been insufficient to enable the Committeeto obtain an adequate picture of the situation prevailing in the State concerned. This GeneralComment thus aims to identify some of the principal issues which the Committee considersto be important in relation to this right.6. The right to adequate housing applies to everyone. While the reference to "himself and hisfamily" reflects assumptions as to gender roles and economic activity patterns commonlyaccepted in 1966 when the Covenant was adopted, the phrase cannot be read today asimplying any limitations upon the applicability of the right to individuals or to female-headedhouseholds or other such groups. Thus, the concept of "family" must be understood in awide sense. Further, individuals, as well as families, are entitled to adequate housingregardless of age, economic status, group or other affiliation or status and other suchfactors. In particular, enjoyment of this right must, in accordance with article 2 (2) of theCovenant, not be subject to any form of discrimination.7. In the Committees view, the right to housing should not be interpreted in a narrow orrestrictive sense which equates it with, for example, the shelter provided by merely having aroof over ones head or views shelter exclusively as a commodity. Rather it should be seen asthe right to live somewhere in security, peace and dignity. This is appropriate for at least tworeasons. In the first place, the right to housing is integrally linked to other human rights andto the fundamental principles upon which the Covenant is premised. This "the inherentdignity of the human person" from which the rights in the Covenant are said to deriverequires that the term "housing" be interpreted so as to take account of a variety of otherconsiderations, most importantly that the right to housing should be ensured to all personsirrespective of income or access to economic resources. Secondly, the reference in article 11(1) must be read as referring not just to housing but to adequate housing. As both theCommission on Human Settlements and the Global Strategy for Shelter to the Year 2000have stated: "Adequate shelter means ... adequate privacy, adequate space, adequatesecurity, adequate lighting and ventilation, adequate basic infrastructure and adequatelocation with regard to work and basic facilities - all at a reasonable cost".8. Thus the concept of adequacy is particularly significant in relation to the right to housingsince it serves to underline a number of factors which must be taken into account indetermining whether particular forms of shelter can be considered to constitute "adequatehousing" for the purposes of the Covenant. While adequacy is determined in part by social,economic, cultural, climatic, ecological and other factors, the Committee believes that it isnevertheless possible to identify certain aspects of the right that must be taken into accountfor this purpose in any particular context. They include the following:Ghetnet Metiku Woldegiorgis,Freelance Socio-Legal ResearcherE-mail: gmgiorgis@gmail.com Page 39 of 53
    • Assessment on Homelessness & the Right to Adequate Housing in Ethiopia 1st Draft Prepared on 14 January 2011(a) Legal security of tenure. Tenure takes a variety of forms, including rental (public andprivate) accommodation, cooperative housing, lease, owner-occupation, emergency housingand informal settlements, including occupation of land or property. Notwithstanding thetype of tenure, all persons should possess a degree of security of tenure which guaranteeslegal protection against forced eviction, harassment and other threats. States parties shouldconsequently take immediate measures aimed at conferring legal security of tenure uponthose persons and households currently lacking such protection, in genuine consultationwith affected persons and groups;(b) Availability of services, materials, facilities and infrastructure. An adequate house mustcontain certain facilities essential for health, security, comfort and nutrition. All beneficiariesof the right to adequate housing should have sustainable access to natural and commonresources, safe drinking water, energy for cooking, heating and lighting, sanitation andwashing facilities, means of food storage, refuse disposal, site drainage and emergencyservices;(c) Affordability. Personal or household financial costs associated with housing should be atsuch a level that the attainment and satisfaction of other basic needs are not threatened orcompromised. Steps should be taken by States parties to ensure that the percentage ofhousing-related costs is, in general, commensurate with income levels. States parties shouldestablish housing subsidies for those unable to obtain affordable housing, as well as formsand levels of housing finance which adequately reflect housing needs. In accordance with theprinciple of affordability, tenants should be protected by appropriate means againstunreasonable rent levels or rent increases. In societies where natural materials constitute thechief sources of building materials for housing, steps should be taken by States parties toensure the availability of such materials;(d) Habitability. Adequate housing must be habitable, in terms of providing the inhabitantswith adequate space and protecting them from cold, damp, heat, rain, wind or other threatsto health, structural hazards, and disease vectors. The physical safety of occupants must beguaranteed as well. The Committee encourages States parties to comprehensively apply theHealth Principles of Housing e prepared by WHO which view housing as the environmentalfactor most frequently associated with conditions for disease in epidemiological analyses; i.e.inadequate and deficient housing and living conditions are invariably associated with highermortality and morbidity rates;(e) Accessibility. Adequate housing must be accessible to those entitled to it. Disadvantagedgroups must be accorded full and sustainable access to adequate housing resources. Thus,such disadvantaged groups as the elderly, children, the physically disabled, the terminally ill,HIV-positive individuals, persons with persistent medical problems, the mentally ill, victims ofnatural disasters, people living in disaster-prone areas and other groups should be ensuredsome degree of priority consideration in the housing sphere. Both housing law and policyshould take fully into account the special housing needs of these groups. Within many Statesparties increasing access to land by landless or impoverished segments of the society shouldconstitute a central policy goal. Discernible governmental obligations need to be developedGhetnet Metiku Woldegiorgis,Freelance Socio-Legal ResearcherE-mail: gmgiorgis@gmail.com Page 40 of 53
    • Assessment on Homelessness & the Right to Adequate Housing in Ethiopia 1st Draft Prepared on 14 January 2011aiming to substantiate the right of all to a secure place to live in peace and dignity, includingaccess to land as an entitlement;(f) Location. Adequate housing must be in a location which allows access to employmentoptions, health-care services, schools, child-care centres and other social facilities. This is trueboth in large cities and in rural areas where the temporal and financial costs of getting to andfrom the place of work can place excessive demands upon the budgets of poor households.Similarly, housing should not be built on polluted sites nor in immediate proximity topollution sources that threaten the right to health of the inhabitants;(g) Cultural adequacy. The way housing is constructed, the building materials used and thepolicies supporting these must appropriately enable the expression of cultural identity anddiversity of housing. Activities geared towards development or modernization in the housingsphere should ensure that the cultural dimensions of housing are not sacrificed, and that,inter alia, modern technological facilities, as appropriate are also ensured.9. As noted above, the right to adequate housing cannot be viewed in isolation from otherhuman rights contained in the two International Covenants and other applicableinternational instruments. Reference has already been made in this regard to the concept ofhuman dignity and the principle of non-discrimination. In addition, the full enjoyment ofother rights - such as the right to freedom of expression, the right to freedom of association(such as for tenants and other community-based groups), the right to freedom of residenceand the right to participate in public decision-making - is indispensable if the right toadequate housing is to be realized and maintained by all groups in society. Similarly, the rightnot to be subjected to arbitrary or unlawful interference with ones privacy, family, home orcorrespondence constitutes a very important dimension in defining the right to adequatehousing.10. Regardless of the state of development of any country, there are certain steps whichmust be taken immediately. As recognized in the Global Strategy for Shelter and in otherinternational analyses, many of the measures required to promote the right to housingwould only require the abstention by the Government from certain practices and acommitment to facilitating "self-help" by affected groups. To the extent that any such stepsare considered to be beyond the maximum resources available to a State party, it isappropriate that a request be made as soon as possible for international cooperation inaccordance with articles 11 (1), 22 and 23 of the Covenant, and that the Committee beinformed thereof.11. States parties must give due priority to those social groups living in unfavourableconditions by giving them particular consideration. Policies and legislation shouldcorrespondingly not be designed to benefit already advantaged social groups at the expenseof others. The Committee is aware that external factors can affect the right to a continuousimprovement of living conditions, and that in many States parties overall living conditionsdeclined during the 1980s. However, as noted by the Committee in its General Comment 2(1990) (E/1990/23, annex III), despite externally caused problems, the obligations under theCovenant continue to apply and are perhaps even more pertinent during times of economicGhetnet Metiku Woldegiorgis,Freelance Socio-Legal ResearcherE-mail: gmgiorgis@gmail.com Page 41 of 53
    • Assessment on Homelessness & the Right to Adequate Housing in Ethiopia 1st Draft Prepared on 14 January 2011contraction. It would thus appear to the Committee that a general decline in living andhousing conditions, directly attributable to policy and legislative decisions by States parties,and in the absence of accompanying compensatory measures, would be inconsistent withthe obligations under the Covenant.12. While the most appropriate means of achieving the full realization of the right toadequate housing will inevitably vary significantly from one State party to another, theCovenant clearly requires that each State party take whatever steps are necessary for thatpurpose. This will almost invariably require the adoption of a national housing strategywhich, as stated in paragraph 32 of the Global Strategy for Shelter, "defines the objectivesfor the development of shelter conditions, identifies the resources available to meet thesegoals and the most cost-effective way of using them and sets out the responsibilities andtime-frame for the implementation of the necessary measures". Both for reasons ofrelevance and effectiveness, as well as in order to ensure respect for other human rights,such a strategy should reflect extensive genuine consultation with, and participation by, allof those affected, including the homeless, the inadequately housed and theirrepresentatives. Furthermore, steps should be taken to ensure coordination betweenministries and regional and local authorities in order to reconcile related policies (economics,agriculture, environment, energy, etc.) with the obligations under article 11 of the Covenant.13. Effective monitoring of the situation with respect to housing is another obligation ofimmediate effect. For a State party to satisfy its obligations under article 11 (1) it mustdemonstrate, inter alia, that it has taken whatever steps are necessary, either alone or on thebasis of international cooperation, to ascertain the full extent of homelessness andinadequate housing within its jurisdiction. In this regard, the revised general guidelinesregarding the form and contents of reports adopted by the Committee (E/C.12/1991/1)emphasize the need to "provide detailed information about those groups within ... societythat are vulnerable and disadvantaged with regard to housing". They include, in particular,homeless persons and families, those inadequately housed and without ready access to basicamenities, those living in "illegal" settlements, those subject to forced evictions and low-income groups.14. Measures designed to satisfy a State partys obligations in respect of the right toadequate housing may reflect whatever mix of public and private sector measuresconsidered appropriate. While in some States public financing of housing might most usefullybe spent on direct construction of new housing, in most cases, experience has shown theinability of Governments to fully satisfy housing deficits with publicly built housing. Thepromotion by States parties of "enabling strategies", combined with a full commitment toobligations under the right to adequate housing, should thus be encouraged. In essence, theobligation is to demonstrate that, in aggregate, the measures being taken are sufficient torealize the right for every individual in the shortest possible time in accordance with themaximum of available resources.15. Many of the measures that will be required will involve resource allocations and policyinitiatives of a general kind. Nevertheless, the role of formal legislative and administrativemeasures should not be underestimated in this context. The Global Strategy for ShelterGhetnet Metiku Woldegiorgis,Freelance Socio-Legal ResearcherE-mail: gmgiorgis@gmail.com Page 42 of 53
    • Assessment on Homelessness & the Right to Adequate Housing in Ethiopia 1st Draft Prepared on 14 January 2011(paras. 66-67) has drawn attention to the types of measures that might be taken in thisregard and to their importance.16. In some States, the right to adequate housing is constitutionally entrenched. In suchcases the Committee is particularly interested in learning of the legal and practicalsignificance of such an approach. Details of specific cases and of other ways in whichentrenchment has proved helpful should thus be provided.17. The Committee views many component elements of the right to adequate housing asbeing at least consistent with the provision of domestic legal remedies. Depending on thelegal system, such areas might include, but are not limited to: (a) legal appeals aimed atpreventing planned evictions or demolitions through the issuance of court-orderedinjunctions; (b) legal procedures seeking compensation following an illegal eviction; (c)complaints against illegal actions carried out or supported by landlords (whether public orprivate) in relation to rent levels, dwelling maintenance, and racial or other forms ofdiscrimination; (d) allegations of any form of discrimination in the allocation and availabilityof access to housing; and (e) complaints against landlords concerning unhealthy orinadequate housing conditions. In some legal systems it would also be appropriate toexplore the possibility of facilitating class action suits in situations involving significantlyincreased levels of homelessness.18. In this regard, the Committee considers that instances of forced eviction are prima facieincompatible with the requirements of the Covenant and can only be justified in the mostexceptional circumstances, and in accordance with the relevant principles of internationallaw.19. Finally, article 11 (1) concludes with the obligation of States parties to recognize "theessential importance of international cooperation based on free consent". Traditionally, lessthan 5 per cent of all international assistance has been directed towards housing or humansettlements, and often the manner by which such funding is provided does little to addressthe housing needs of disadvantaged groups. States parties, both recipients and providers,should ensure that a substantial proportion of financing is devoted to creating conditionsleading to a higher number of persons being adequately housed. International financialinstitutions promoting measures of structural adjustment should ensure that such measuresdo not compromise the enjoyment of the right to adequate housing. States parties should,when contemplating international financial cooperation, seek to indicate areas relevant tothe right to adequate housing where external financing would have the most effect. Suchrequests should take full account of the needs and views of the affected groups.footnotes* Contained in document E/1992/23.Ghetnet Metiku Woldegiorgis,Freelance Socio-Legal ResearcherE-mail: gmgiorgis@gmail.com Page 43 of 53
    • Assessment on Homelessness & the Right to Adequate Housing in Ethiopia 1st Draft Prepared on 14 January 2011 a. Official Records of the General Assembly, Forty-third Session, Supplement No. 8, addendum (A/43/8/Add.1). b. Commission on Human Rights resolutions 1986/36 and 1987/22; reports by Mr. Danilo Turk, Special Rapporteur of the Sub-Commission (E/CN.4/Sub.2/1990/19, paras. 108- 120; E/CN.4/Sub.2/1991/17, paras. 137-139); see also Sub-Commission resolution 1991/26. c. See, for example, article 25 (1) of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights, article 5 (e) (iii) of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, article 14 (2) of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, article 27 (3) of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, article 10 of the Declaration on Social Progress and Development, section III (8) of the Vancouver Declaration on Human Settlements, 1976 (Report of Habitat: United Nations Conference on Human Settlements (United Nations publication, Sales No. E.76.IV.7 and corrigendum), chap. I), article 8 (1) of the Declaration on the Right to Development and the ILO Recommendation Concerning Workers Housing, 1961 (No. 115). d. See footnote a. e. Geneva, World Health Organization, 1990. 6.2.2. CESCR General Comment 7The right to adequate housing (Art.11.1): forced evictions: 05/20/1997GENERAL COMMENT 7: The right to adequate housing (art. 11.1 of the Covenant): forcedevictions (Sixteenth session, 1997)*1. In its General Comment No. 4 (1991), the Committee observed that all persons shouldpossess a degree of security of tenure which guarantees legal protection against forcedeviction, harassment and other threats. It concluded that forced evictions are prima facieincompatible with the requirements of the Covenant. Having considered a significant numberof reports of forced evictions in recent years, including instances in which it has determinedthat the obligations of States parties were being violated, the Committee is now in a positionto seek to provide further clarification as to the implications of such practices in terms of theobligations contained in the Covenant.2. The international community has long recognized that the issue of forced evictions is aserious one. In 1976, the United Nations Conference on Human Settlements noted thatspecial attention should be paid to "undertaking major clearance operations should takeplace only when conservation and rehabilitation are not feasible and relocation measures areGhetnet Metiku Woldegiorgis,Freelance Socio-Legal ResearcherE-mail: gmgiorgis@gmail.com Page 44 of 53
    • Assessment on Homelessness & the Right to Adequate Housing in Ethiopia 1st Draft Prepared on 14 January 2011made". 1/ In 1988, in the Global Strategy for Shelter to the Year 2000, adopted by the GeneralAssembly in its resolution 43/181, the "fundamental obligation [of Governments] to protectand improve houses and neighbourhoods, rather than damage or destroy them" wasrecognized. 2/ Agenda 21 stated that "people should be protected by law against unfaireviction from their homes or land". 3/ In the Habitat Agenda Governments committedthemselves to "protecting all people from, and providing legal protection and redress for,forced evictions that are contrary to the law, taking human rights into consideration; [and]when evictions are unavoidable, ensuring, as appropriate, that alternative suitable solutionsare provided". 4/ The Commission on Human Rights has also indicated that "forced evictionsare a gross violation of human rights". 5/ However, although these statements are important,they leave open one of the most critical issues, namely that of determining the circumstancesunder which forced evictions are permissible and of spelling out the types of protectionrequired to ensure respect for the relevant provisions of the Covenant.3. The use of the term "forced evictions" is, in some respects, problematic. This expressionseeks to convey a sense of arbitrariness and of illegality. To many observers, however, thereference to "forced evictions" is a tautology, while others have criticized the expression"illegal evictions" on the ground that it assumes that the relevant law provides adequateprotection of the right to housing and conforms with the Covenant, which is by no meansalways the case. Similarly, it has been suggested that the term "unfair evictions" is even moresubjective by virtue of its failure to refer to any legal framework at all. The internationalcommunity, especially in the context of the Commission on Human Rights, has opted to referto "forced evictions", primarily since all suggested alternatives also suffer from many suchdefects. The term "forced evictions" as used throughout this general comment is defined asthe permanent or temporary removal against their will of individuals, families and/orcommunities from the homes and/or land which they occupy, without the provision of, andaccess to, appropriate forms of legal or other protection. The prohibition on forced evictionsdoes not, however, apply to evictions carried out by force in accordance with the law and inconformity with the provisions of the International Covenants on Human Rights.4. The practice of forced evictions is widespread and affects persons in both developed anddeveloping countries. Owing to the interrelationship and interdependency which existamong all human rights, forced evictions frequently violate other human rights. Thus, whilemanifestly breaching the rights enshrined in the Covenant, the practice of forced evictionsmay also result in violations of civil and political rights, such as the right to life, the right tosecurity of the person, the right to non-interference with privacy, family and home and theright to the peaceful enjoyment of possessions.5. Although the practice of forced evictions might appear to occur primarily in heavilypopulated urban areas, it also takes place in connection with forced population transfers,internal displacement, forced relocations in the context of armed conflict, mass exodusesand refugee movements. In all of these contexts, the right to adequate housing and not tobe subjected to forced eviction may be violated through a wide range of acts or omissionsattributable to States parties. Even in situations where it may be necessary to imposelimitations on such a right, full compliance with article 4 of the Covenant is required so thatany limitations imposed must be "determined by law only insofar as this may be compatibleGhetnet Metiku Woldegiorgis,Freelance Socio-Legal ResearcherE-mail: gmgiorgis@gmail.com Page 45 of 53
    • Assessment on Homelessness & the Right to Adequate Housing in Ethiopia 1st Draft Prepared on 14 January 2011with the nature of these [i.e. economic, social and cultural] rights and solely for the purposeof promoting the general welfare in a democratic society".6. Many instances of forced eviction are associated with violence, such as evictions resultingfrom international armed conflicts, internal strife and communal or ethnic violence.7. Other instances of forced eviction occur in the name of development. Evictions may becarried out in connection with conflict over land rights, development and infrastructureprojects, such as the construction of dams or other large-scale energy projects, with landacquisition measures associated with urban renewal, housing renovation, city beautificationprogrammes, the clearing of land for agricultural purposes, unbridled speculation in land, orthe holding of major sporting events like the Olympic Games.8. In essence, the obligations of States parties to the Covenant in relation to forced evictionsare based on article 11.1, read in conjunction with other relevant provisions. In particular,article 2.1 obliges States to use "all appropriate means" to promote the right to adequatehousing. However, in view of the nature of the practice of forced evictions, the reference inarticle 2.1 to progressive achievement based on the availability of resources will rarely berelevant. The State itself must refrain from forced evictions and ensure that the law isenforced against its agents or third parties who carry out forced evictions (as defined inparagraph 3 above). Moreover, this approach is reinforced by article 17.1 of the InternationalCovenant on Civil and Political Rights which complements the right not to be forcefullyevicted without adequate protection. That provision recognizes, inter alia, the right to beprotected against "arbitrary or unlawful interference" with ones home. It is to be noted thatthe States obligation to ensure respect for that right is not qualified by considerationsrelating to its available resources.9. Article 2.1 of the Covenant requires States parties to use "all appropriate means", includingthe adoption of legislative measures, to promote all the rights protected under theCovenant. Although the Committee has indicated in its General Comment No. 3 (1990) thatsuch measures may not be indispensable in relation to all rights, it is clear that legislationagainst forced evictions is an essential basis upon which to build a system of effectiveprotection. Such legislation should include measures which (a) provide the greatest possiblesecurity of tenure to occupiers of houses and land, (b) conform to the Covenant and (c) aredesigned to control strictly the circumstances under which evictions may be carried out. Thelegislation must also apply to all agents acting under the authority of the State or who areaccountable to it. Moreover, in view of the increasing trend in some States towards theGovernment greatly reducing its responsibilities in the housing sector, States parties mustensure that legislative and other measures are adequate to prevent and, if appropriate,punish forced evictions carried out, without appropriate safeguards, by private persons orbodies. States parties should therefore review relevant legislation and policies to ensure thatthey are compatible with the obligations arising from the right to adequate housing andrepeal or amend any legislation or policies that are inconsistent with the requirements of theCovenant.Ghetnet Metiku Woldegiorgis,Freelance Socio-Legal ResearcherE-mail: gmgiorgis@gmail.com Page 46 of 53
    • Assessment on Homelessness & the Right to Adequate Housing in Ethiopia 1st Draft Prepared on 14 January 201110. Women, children, youth, older persons, indigenous people, ethnic and other minorities,and other vulnerable individuals and groups all suffer disproportionately from the practice offorced eviction. Women in all groups are especially vulnerable given the extent of statutoryand other forms of discrimination which often apply in relation to property rights (includinghome ownership) or rights of access to property or accommodation, and their particularvulnerability to acts of violence and sexual abuse when they are rendered homeless. The non-discrimination provisions of articles 2.2 and 3 of the Covenant impose an additional obligationupon Governments to ensure that, where evictions do occur, appropriate measures aretaken to ensure that no form of discrimination is involved.11. Whereas some evictions may be justifiable, such as in the case of persistent non-paymentof rent or of damage to rented property without any reasonable cause, it is incumbent uponthe relevant authorities to ensure that they are carried out in a manner warranted by a lawwhich is compatible with the Covenant and that all the legal recourses and remedies areavailable to those affected.12. Forced eviction and house demolition as a punitive measure are also inconsistent with thenorms of the Covenant. Likewise, the Committee takes note of the obligations enshrined inthe Geneva Conventions of 1949 and Protocols thereto of 1977 concerning prohibitions onthe displacement of the civilian population and the destruction of private property as theserelate to the practice of forced eviction.13. States parties shall ensure, prior to carrying out any evictions, and particularly thoseinvolving large groups, that all feasible alternatives are explored in consultation with theaffected persons, with a view to avoiding, or at least minimizing, the need to use force. Legalremedies or procedures should be provided to those who are affected by eviction orders.States parties shall also see to it that all the individuals concerned have a right to adequatecompensation for any property, both personal and real, which is affected. In this respect, it ispertinent to recall article 2.3 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, whichrequires States parties to ensure "an effective remedy" for persons whose rights have beenviolated and the obligation upon the "competent authorities (to) enforce such remedieswhen granted".14. In cases where eviction is considered to be justified, it should be carried out in strictcompliance with the relevant provisions of international human rights law and in accordancewith general principles of reasonableness and proportionality. In this regard it is especiallypertinent to recall General Comment 16 of the Human Rights Committee, relating to article 17of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which states that interference witha persons home can only take place "in cases envisaged by the law". The Committeeobserved that the law "should be in accordance with the provisions, aims and objectives ofthe Covenant and should be, in any event, reasonable in the particular circumstances". TheCommittee also indicated that "relevant legislation must specify in detail the precisecircumstances in which such interferences may be permitted".15. Appropriate procedural protection and due process are essential aspects of all humanrights but are especially pertinent in relation to a matter such as forced evictions whichGhetnet Metiku Woldegiorgis,Freelance Socio-Legal ResearcherE-mail: gmgiorgis@gmail.com Page 47 of 53
    • Assessment on Homelessness & the Right to Adequate Housing in Ethiopia 1st Draft Prepared on 14 January 2011directly invokes a large number of the rights recognized in both the International Covenantson Human Rights. The Committee considers that the procedural protections which should beapplied in relation to forced evictions include: (a) an opportunity for genuine consultationwith those affected; (b) adequate and reasonable notice for all affected persons prior to thescheduled date of eviction; (c) information on the proposed evictions, and, where applicable,on the alternative purpose for which the land or housing is to be used, to be made availablein reasonable time to all those affected; (d) especially where groups of people are involved,government officials or their representatives to be present during an eviction; (e) all personscarrying out the eviction to be properly identified; (f) evictions not to take place inparticularly bad weather or at night unless the affected persons consent otherwise; (g)provision of legal remedies; and (h) provision, where possible, of legal aid to persons who arein need of it to seek redress from the courts.16. Evictions should not result in individuals being rendered homeless or vulnerable to theviolation of other human rights. Where those affected are unable to provide for themselves,the State party must take all appropriate measures, to the maximum of its availableresources, to ensure that adequate alternative housing, resettlement or access to productiveland, as the case may be, is available.17. The Committee is aware that various development projects financed by internationalagencies within the territories of State parties have resulted in forced evictions. In thisregard, the Committee recalls its General Comment No. 2 (1990) which states, inter alia, that"international agencies should scrupulously avoid involvement in projects which, for example... promote or reinforce discrimination against individuals or groups contrary to theprovisions of the Covenant, or involve large-scale evictions or displacement of personswithout the provision of all appropriate protection and compensation. Every effort should bemade, at each phase of a development project, to ensure that the rights contained in theCovenant are duly taken into account". 6/18. Some institutions, such as the World Bank and the Organisation for EconomicCooperation and Development (OECD) have adopted guidelines on relocation and/orresettlement with a view to limiting the scale of and human suffering associated with forcedevictions. Such practices often accompany large-scale development projects, such as dam-building and other major energy projects. Full respect for such guidelines, insofar as theyreflect the obligations contained in the Covenant, is essential on the part of both theagencies themselves and States parties to the Covenant. The Committee recalls in thisrespect the statement in the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action to the effect that"while development facilitates the enjoyment of all human rights, the lack of developmentmay not be invoked to justify the abridgement of internationally recognized human rights"(Part I, para. 10).19. In accordance with the guidelines for reporting adopted by the Committee, State partiesare requested to provide various types of information pertaining directly to the practice offorced evictions. This includes information relating to (a) the "number of persons evictedwithin the last five years and the number of persons currently lacking legal protection againstarbitrary eviction or any other kind of eviction", (b) "legislation concerning the rights ofGhetnet Metiku Woldegiorgis,Freelance Socio-Legal ResearcherE-mail: gmgiorgis@gmail.com Page 48 of 53
    • Assessment on Homelessness & the Right to Adequate Housing in Ethiopia 1st Draft Prepared on 14 January 2011tenants to security of tenure, to protection from eviction" and (c) "legislation prohibiting anyform of eviction". 7/20. Information is also sought as to "measures taken during, inter alia, urban renewalprogrammes, redevelopment projects, site upgrading, preparation for international events(Olympics and other sporting competitions, exhibitions, conferences, etc.) beautiful citycampaigns, etc. which guarantee protection from eviction or guarantee rehousing based onmutual consent, by any persons living on or near to affected sites". 8/ However, few Statesparties have included the requisite information in their reports to the Committee. TheCommittee therefore wishes to emphasize the importance it attaches to the receipt of suchinformation.21. Some States parties have indicated that information of this nature is not available. TheCommittee recalls that effective monitoring of the right to adequate housing, either by theGovernment concerned or by the Committee, is not possible in the absence of the collectionof appropriate data and would request all States parties to ensure that the necessary data iscollected and is reflected in the reports submitted by them under the Covenant.Notes* Contained in document E/1998/22, annex IV.1/ Report of Habitat: United Nations Conference on Human Settlements, Vancouver, 31 May -11 June 1976 (A/CONF.70/15), chap. II, recommendation B.8, para. C (ii).2/ Report of the Commission on Human Settlements on the work of its eleventh session,Addendum (A/43/8/Add.1), para. 13.3/ Report of the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, Rio deJaneiro, 3-14 June 1992, Vol. I (A/CONF.151/26/Rev.1(vol.I), annex II, Agenda 21, chap. 7.9 (b).4/ Report of the United Nations Conference on Settlements (Habitat II) (A/CONF.165/14),annex II, The Habitat Agenda, para. 40 (n).5/ Commission on Human Rights resolution 1993/77, para. 1.6/ E/1990/23, annex III, paras. 6 and 8 (d).7/ E/C.12/1999/8, annex IV.8/ Ibid.Ghetnet Metiku Woldegiorgis,Freelance Socio-Legal ResearcherE-mail: gmgiorgis@gmail.com Page 49 of 53
    • Assessment on Homelessness & the Right to Adequate Housing in Ethiopia 1st Draft Prepared on 14 January 2011 6.2.3. Indicators on the Right to Adequate HousingMiloon Kothari, Report of the Special Rapporteur on adequate housing as a component ofthe right to an adequate standard of living, A/HRC/4/18, 5 February 200710. Structural indicators. These are indicators that reflect the ratification/adoption of legalinstruments and the existence of basic institutional mechanisms deemed necessary forfacilitating realization of the particular human right.11. Process indicators. These relate State policy instruments with milestones, which in turncumulate into outcome indicators that could be more directly related to realization of humanrights. Such indicators contribute to assessing an important aspect of the notion ofaccountability. Unlike outcome indicators, process indicators are more sensitive to changes,and are thus better at reflecting progressive realization of the right and States parties’efforts in protecting the rights, including their obligation as stated in article 2 of ICESCR.(“Each State Party to the present Covenant undertakes to take steps … to the maximum ofits available resources, with a view to achieving progressively the full realization of the rightsrecognized in the present Covenant by all appropriate means … .”)12. Outcome indicators. These capture attainments, individual and collective, that reflect thestatus of realization of a human right in a given context. Outcome indicators have twoimportant features. First, as mentioned, they are more directly related to the realization ofthe corresponding right and second, a number of processes could contribute to theattainment of a single outcome. In such a case, it becomes useful to make a distinctionbetween process and outcome indicators.List of Illustrative Indicators on the Right to Adequate Housing (Art. 11 (1) ICESCR; MDGindicators)Structural International human rights instruments, relevant to the right to adequate housing, ratified by the State Date of entry into force and coverage of the right to adequate housing in Supreme Law/Constitution/Bill of Rights Date of entry into force and coverage of domestic laws relevant to the implementation of the right to adequate housing Number of registered/operational civil society organizations involved in the promotion and protection of the right to adequate housing Time frame and coverage of national housing policy statement/strategy for the progressive implementation of measures for the right to adequate housing at different levels of Government, as applicableGhetnet Metiku Woldegiorgis,Freelance Socio-Legal ResearcherE-mail: gmgiorgis@gmail.com Page 50 of 53
    • Assessment on Homelessness & the Right to Adequate Housing in Ethiopia 1st Draft Prepared on 14 January 2011 Time frame and coverage of national policy on rehabilitation and resettlement Date of entry into force and coverage of legislation on security of tenure, equal inheritance and protection against forced evictionProcess Number of complaints on the right to adequate housing received, investigated and adjudicated by the national human rights institution or human rights ombudsperson or specialized institution and other administrative mechanisms (created to protect the interests of specific populations groups) in the reporting period Public expenditure on reconstruction and rehabilitation of displaced persons as a proportion of public development budget Net ODA for housing received/provided as proportion of public expenditure on housing/gross national incomeProcess: Habitability Proportions of habitations (cities, towns and villages) covered under provisions of building codes and by-laws Share of public development budget spent on social/community housing Increase in habitable area effected through reclamation, including of hazardous sites and change in land use pattern Addition to habitable area earmarked for social/community housing during the reporting periodProcess: Accessibility to Services Proportion of household budget spent on access to utilities, including water supply, sanitation, electricity and garbage disposal Proportion of vulnerable households dependent on private sources for water supply Share of public development budget spent on provision and maintenance of sanitation, water supply, electricity and physical connectivity of habitationsProcess: Housing Affordability Proportion of households that receive public housing assistance, including those living in subsidized rented housing and households subsidized for ownershipGhetnet Metiku Woldegiorgis,Freelance Socio-Legal ResearcherE-mail: gmgiorgis@gmail.com Page 51 of 53
    • Assessment on Homelessness & the Right to Adequate Housing in Ethiopia 1st Draft Prepared on 14 January 2011 Proportion of households in self-owned, publicly provided housing and squatter settlements Average rent of bottom three income deciles as a proportion of the top threeProcess: Security of Tenure Average time taken to settle disputes related to housing and land rights in courts and tribunals Number of legal appeals aimed at preventing planned evictions/demolitions through the issuance of court-ordered injunctions over the reporting period Number of legal procedures seeking compensation following evictions over the reporting period Proportion of displaced or evicted persons rehabilitated/resettled annually over the reporting periodOutcome IndicatorsHabitability Proportion of population (persons per room or rooms per household) with sufficient living space/average number of persons per room among targeted households Proportion of households living in permanent structures in compliance with building codes and by-laws Proportion of habitations/households living near hazardous sitesAccessibility to Services Proportion of urban population living in slums Proportion of (rural and urban) population with sustainable access to an improved water source* Proportion of (rural and urban) population with access to improved sanitation*Housing Affordability Proportion of households spending more than “x” % of their monthly income/expenditure on housing Annual average of homeless persons per 100,000 populationGhetnet Metiku Woldegiorgis,Freelance Socio-Legal ResearcherE-mail: gmgiorgis@gmail.com Page 52 of 53
    • Assessment on Homelessness & the Right to Adequate Housing in Ethiopia 1st Draft Prepared on 14 January 2011 Proportion of homeless population using public and community-based sheltersSecurity of Tenure Reported cases of “forced evictions” per 100,000 population (e.g. as reported to United Nations special procedures) over the reporting period Proportion of households with legally enforceable, contractual, statutory or other protection providing security of tenure/proportion of households with access to secure tenure* Proportion of women among individuals with titles to land/houseGhetnet Metiku Woldegiorgis,Freelance Socio-Legal ResearcherE-mail: gmgiorgis@gmail.com Page 53 of 53