“Every year, millions of people around the world are threatened by evictions
or forcibly evicted, often leaving them homeless, landless, and living in ex treme poverty and destitution. Forced evictions commonly result in severe
trauma and set back even further the lives of those that are often already
marginalized or vulnerable in society.
Forced eviction occurs throughout the world, in developing and developed
countries alike, in the context of development or emergencies and reconstruction. Accelerating urbanization, climate change and globalization, financial and other global crises have contributed to making forced evictions even
more acute and complex. Forced evictions constitute a distinct phenomenon under international law.
Many of their consequences are similar to those of arbitrary displacement and other practices involving the coerced and involuntary displacement of people from their homes, lands and communities. The international community has repeatedly stated that forced evictions are a gross violation of human rights, in particular the right to adequate housing.1 This statement recognizes that human rights are interdependent, indivisible and interrelated. In addition to being a violation of the prohibition on arbi trary or unlawful interference with the home, forced evictions all too often result in other severe human rights violations, particularly when they are accompanied by forced relocation or homelessness. For instance, if no adequate alternative housing is provided, victims of forced evictions are put in life- and health-threatening situations and often lose access to food, education, health care, employment and other livelihood opportunities. Indeed, forced evic tions often result in losing the means to produce or otherwise acquire food or
in children’s schooling being interrupted or completely stopped.
Forced evictions commonly result in people being pushed into extreme poverty and as such pose a risk to the right to life itself. They have also been found to be tantamount to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, particularly when carried out with violence or with discriminatory intent. During forced evic tions, people are frequently harassed or beaten and occasionally subjected to inhumane treatment or killed. Women and girls are particularly vulnerable to violence, including sexual violence, before, during and after an eviction. Forced evictions may also result in indirect violations of political rights, such as the right to vote, if persons are rendered homeless. They can also have
a profound detrimental psychological impact on evictees, in particular chil dren, who have been found to suffer both short- and long-term effects. In the context of forced evictions, the right to a remedy and to judicial or
other accountability mechanisms, including to challenge the reasons for the forced eviction, is often denied, resulting in further human rights violations related to access to justice.
Development-based evictions are often planned or carried out to serve the “public good” or “public interest”, but do not provide protection for the most vulnerable, procedural guarantees or due process. This is the case of many development and infrastructure projects, such as large dams or mining and other extractive industries, large-scale land acquisitions, urban renewal, city beautification, or major international business or sporting events. Problematically, evictions in the name of development in general do not benefit those most in need. For instance, rather than applying a human
rights framework by which security of tenure and active, free and meaning ful participation of slum dwellers in development decisions are prioritized,
some countries have used slum clearance and forced evictions in an attempt to meet Millennium Development Goal 7, running counter to the spirit of the Goal, which aims to achieve significant improvement in the lives of at least 100 million slum dwellers by the year 2020. Post-conflict and post-disaster reconstruction or the improper use of disaster risk reduction laws or housing building standards may also become an ex cuse for evicting and displacing people from their homes. Evictions are not an inevitable side-effect of urbanization, development and reconstruction. They are the result of human interventions. This Fact Sheet examines the prohibition on forced evictions under the inter national human rights framework, specific obligations of States and others to refrain from and prohibit forced evictions, and how, when violations of rights and obligations do occur, there can be accountability and remedies. “