Resolution on ESC Rights

The Human Rights Council adopted its annual resolution on ESC rights (A/HRC/RES/37/13) by consensus. Read More

The broad text of the resolution repeated many of the paragraphs from the 2017 resolution on issues such as: ratification of the Optional Protocol to the ICESCR; the importance of effective domestic remedies; the centrality of equality and non-discrimination; social protection floors; and ‘the important contributions of regional organizations, national human rights institutions and civil society, including nongovernmental organizations, academic and research institutions, business enterprises and trade unions’ to ESC rights.

As is usual, the resolution also took up the subject of the Secretary General’s report discussed above. For instance, the resolution calls on States to ‘mitigate the risks of natural and human made hazards and disasters, such as those arising from the impacts of, inter alia, climate change and unsustainable development planning and activities, acknowledging links between sustainability and resilience and the enjoyment of all human rights’.

It also notes the importance of freedom of expression, freedom to seek, receive and impart information, the right of citizens to take part in the conduct of public affairs, to disaster preparedness and protection from environmental harm. In this respect, the resolution urges States to setup ‘mechanisms and procedures of information, education, prevention, mitigation, participation, investigation, prosecution and recovery in case of natural and human made hazards and disasters’.

Finally, the resolution requests the Secretary General to focus its next annual report on the realisation of ESC rights on the theme of the 2019 High Level Political Forum (HLPF) of the Sustainable Development Agenda: the role of ESC rights in empowering people and ensuring inclusiveness and equality.

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Right to Adequate Housing

In her annual report to the Human Rights Council, the Special Rapporteur on adequate housing, Ms Leilani Farha, provides States and other actors with concrete guidance on developing and implementing effective rights-based housing strategies(A/HRC/RES/37/53). Read more

The report explains what a housing strategy is and the difference between a housing strategy and housing policy. It outlines the value of a human rights-based approach to housing strategies and describes the ten key principles upon which such strategies must be based. The principles include elements such as: legal recognition of the right to adequate housing; legal protection of the right to equality and non-discrimination; prioritisation of those most in need; meaningful participation of affected persons; sufficient resources through accountable budgeting and tax justice; access to justice; and clarification of the obligations of private actors and regulation of financial, housing and real estate markets.

The Special Rapporteur explains that there is no “one size fits all” housing strategy, but there are important requirements of each principle that should be shaped to fit specific national and local contexts. These draw both on human rights norms, as articulated by UN treaty bodies, courts and human rights institutions, and on the practical experiences of the Special Rapporteur, governments, civil society and experts. The report also provides examples of how these key principles have been implemented in practice, in diverse national and local contexts. 

According to the Special Rapporteur, ‘If the historic commitments made through the Sustainable Development Goals and the New Urban Agenda are to be taken seriously, each State must design and implement a human rights-based housing strategy.’ Human rights-based housing strategies will enable States to translate their lofty commitments into practical measures that transform housing systems so that they ensure access for all to safe, affordable and adequate housing.

The report concludes with a checklist to facilitate the design, monitoring, financing and implementation of human rights-based housing strategies. 

The Special Rapporteur also presented her report of her mission to Chile (A/HRC/37/53/Add.1).