Reporting on Spatial Segregation in Housing
To complement the dialogue and consultation sessions held by the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to adequate housing Balakrishnan Rajagopal with relevant parties (regional and local governments, states and international organizations, and civil society organizations), the Special Rapporteur launched a survey, focusing on “the issue of discrimination in relation to the right to adequate housing, including the impact of spatial segregation in urban or rural-urban environments on the enjoyment of human rights.” The results of which will be reviewed in the sessions of the General Assembly and the Human Rights Council for the year 2021. Through the survey, the Special Rapporteur aims to shed light on good practices in preventing discrimination and segregation in housing, while providing guidelines for states on how to do so and fulfill their related human rights obligations.
The survey included six main themes and questions:
1. Studies and information related to the obstacles that prevent individuals and groups from enjoying the right to adequate housing, due to discrimination, whether from public or private entities;
2. Identify patterns and practices of segregation, including spatial segregation in urban, rural and peri-urban-rural contexts, and the effects of inequality and spatial segregation on affected communities;
3. Identification of factors, policies, laws and regulations that contribute to spatial segregation or housing discrimination;
4. The impact of spatial segregation on access to the right to adequate housing and public services in a non-discriminatory manner, including electricity, access to digital services, security of tenure, and other related rights, such as the right to water and sanitation, education, health, and work; the right to a safe and clean environment, the right to equal protection of personal security;
5. Tensions between protection of cultural and minority rights, rights of indigenous peoples, freedom to choose residence, and the prohibition of discrimination under international human rights law. as well as suggestions on how to resolve these tensions in line with international human rights law;
6. Determining the policies, laws and measures necessary to prevent discrimination and spatial segregation, with regard to the right to adequate housing. What are the positive measures that led to the reduction of spatial segregation and discrimination in housing?
The regional office of the Habitat International Coalition - Housing and Land Rights Network for North Africa and the Middle East cooperated with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Special Rapporteur in translating and distributing the questionnaire in Arabic. HIC-HLRN and its Members from the Middle East and North Africa (6 Members), provided their inputs that included a review of spatial separation and discrimination across the region, as well as country-specific cases in each of Palestine, Lebanon, Sudan, occupied Western Sahara. Other Members of the Coalition (4 Members) worldwide contributed also, reporting on relevant cases from India, Argentina, Angola and Mexico.
You can find the outcome reports from the survey on the Special Rapporteur`s webpage in September and October 2021.