GENEVA (5 July 2017) – Spain violated the right to housing of a family with
young children, who were evicted from a rented room in a flat without being
provided with alternative housing, UN experts have found.
The independent experts, from the Geneva-based Committee on Economic,
Social and Cultural Rights, issued their findings after considering a complaint
by a couple, who were evicted from their Madrid home in 2013 with their
children aged one and three.
In 2012, the couple stopped receiving unemployment benefits and were unable
to continue paying the rent. In its findings, the Committee noted that although
the eviction by court order was legal, the authorities had not taken all the
necessary steps to provide the family with alternative housing.
"This is not a unique case. Families in developed and developing countries
are faced with similar situations,” said Committee member Mr. Rodrigo Uprimny.
"Through our decision we reaffirm that all people, including those who live in
rented accommodation, have the right to housing. States have a duty to ensure
that their evictions do not render them homeless.”
He added: "States have an obligation, to the maximum of their available
resources, to provide alternative housing to those evicted who are in need. It
is for the State concerned to show that it took all the necessary steps but was
unable to grant the evicted people with alternative housing.”
Committee chair Ms Virginia Bras Gomes said: "This case reveals to what
extent institutional failures, such as the high rate of unemployment, lack of
adequate social policies and poor coordination between agencies, are at the
root of alarming human rights violations. States must respect their
international obligations and urgently tackle these causes to create adequate
conditions for the people in need.”
The Committee urged Spain, a State party to the International Covenant on
Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), to take all necessary measures
to help the family obtain adequate housing, as well as paying them compensation.Spain was also asked to put into operation a comprehensive plan to guarantee
the right to adequate housing for people with low incomes.
The Committee considered the case under the Optional Protocol to the
ICESCR, which gives it the authority to examine individual complaints. More
details about the case can be found here.
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The Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural rights is composed of 18
independent experts, who are in charge of monitoring the implementation of and
compliance with the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural