The Human Right to Adequate Housing in Post-Disaster Contexts

Authored by: Raquel Rolnik

Routledge Handbook of Human Rights and Disasters

Print publication date:  March  2018
Online publication date:  March  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138069916
eBook ISBN: 9781315115238
Adobe ISBN:


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The need to focus on the interplay between disasters and the right to housing is at present compelling. This chapter aims to foster a debate on such topic, proceeding in two steps. First, it offers a definition of the right to housing in disaster scenarios. Second, it underlines the main consequences stemming from the provided definition in terms of obligations incumbent upon States, by focusing particularly on three sets of obligations, namely (i) due diligence obligations in the pre-disaster phase, (ii) specific obligations concerning property restitution in the aftermath of disasters and (iii) the prohibition of discrimination in access to housing in disaster settings. The chapter concludes by offering a number of recommendations. First, the right to housing shall be broadly defined. Second, States should adopt an approach to disasters deliberately and comprehensively integrating the right to adequate housing both at a legal and policy level. Third, States should protect the security of all tenures, based on the principle of non-discrimination. Fourth, non-discrimination on the basis of gender should direct post reconstruction efforts. Lastly, unless exceptional circumstances exist, tenure should always be secured in situ.

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