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United Nations Human Rights
Housing is the basis of stability and security for an individual or family. The centre of our social, emotional and sometimes economic lives, a home should be a sanctuary—a place to live in peace, security and dignity.
Housing is a right, not a commodity.
Increasingly viewed as a commodity, housing is most importantly a human right.
Under international law, to be adequately housed means having secure tenure—not having to worry about being evicted or having your home or lands taken away.
It means living somewhere that is in keeping with your culture and having access to appropriate services, schools, and employment.
Too often violations of the right to housing occur with impunity.
In part, this is because, at the domestic level, housing is rarely treated as a human right.
The key to ensuring adequate housing is the implementation of this human right through appropriate government policy and programmes, including national housing strategies.
Housing and real estate markets worldwide have been transformed by global capital markets and financial excess.
Known as the financialization of housing, the phenomenon occurs when housing is treated as a commodity – a vehicle for wealth and investment rather than a social good.
Adequate housing was recognized as part of the right to an adequate standard of living in article 25 of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights and in article 11.1 of the 1966 International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.
Other international human rights treaties have since recognized or referred to the right to adequate housing or some elements of it, such as the protection of one’s home and privacy.