Less than half of the world’s national Constitutions enshrine the legal right to adequate housing, despite the widespread recognition of this right within countless international and regional human rights instruments.[1]With a view to expanding constitutional recognition of this cornerstone right, Displacement Solutions has developed a model constitutional article on the right to adequate housing which we hope will assist constitutional drafters to insert this vital right into every future constitution throughout the world, beginning, we hope, with the Constitution current being drafted in the Republic of Chile.

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Model Constitutional Article on the Right to Adequate Housing

 

Section 1. The Right to Adequate Housing

1(1). Every woman, man and child has the right to dignified and adequate housing which is accessible, affordable, habitable, secure, safe, healthy, culturally adequate and in an appropriate location.

1(2). This right includes the right to equality of treatment and equal protection of the law, within an environment free from any form of racial or other discrimination.

1(3). This right constitutes a duty of solidarity for the nation as a whole. Any person or family unable to meet their housing requirements has the right to assistance under conditions fixed by law that will ensure access to dignified and adequate housing in accordance with sub-section (1).

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Section 2. Protection From Eviction

2(1). All persons have the legal right to security of tenure and the corresponding right not to be evicted arbitrarily from their home, land or property or other place of residence, as the case may be.

2(2). Evictions may only be carried out under genuinely extraordinary circumstances, in accordance with law and only following the provision of a judicial order which fully considers the relevant circumstances, and in full accordance with the rights enshrined in the present Article.

2(3). Any person(s) threatened with eviction has the right to due process of law and the right to appeal any relevant judgment.

2(4). No person shall become homeless as a result of an eviction, not shall anyone become homeless if displaced due to circumstances beyond their control, including people displaced due to the consequences of climate change.

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Section 3. Measures of Implementation

3(1). To give effect to the present Article, the State will convene a national convention to examine and adopt implementing legislation to secure full respect for the present article.

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Section 4. Remedies and Due Process

4(1). Any person alleging the non-enjoyment of the rights established under this Article have the right to effective remedies and due process of law and any other legal remedy, with a view to securing the full enforcement of this right, including remedies for violations of the right to adequate housing due either to acts of commission and/or omission, including land grabbing, ethnic cleansing, the taking by the State of deliberately retrogressive measures and any other alleged violations.

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[1]See: Oren and Alterman, ‘The Right to Adequate Housing Around the Globe: Analysis and Evaluation of National Constitutions’, in Sandeep Agrawal (ed) Rights and the City: Problems, Progress and Practice, University of Alberta Press, 2021, Chapter 8.