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Rights to Adequate Housing under Domestic and International Laws

The Philippines adopts the generally accepted principles of international law as part of the law of
the land and adheres to the policy of peace, equality, justice, freedom, cooperation, and amity with
all nations, thus, the standard of adequate housing must be followed under International Law.
Further, the Philippines is a signatory/state party to several human rights instruments which
encompass housing rights. These specific conventions and treaties are as follows:
a.) International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights - Article 11(1);
b.) Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) - Article 25 (1); Convention on Relating to the Status
of Refugees (1951) - Article 21;
c.) Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination (1995) - Article 5(e)(iii);
d.) International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (1966) Article 17;
e.)Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (1979) - Article 14(2);
f.)Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989) - Article 16(1);
g.)International Convention an the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their
Families (1990) - Article 43(1);
h.)Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (2008) - Articles 2, 5(3), 9(1)(cz), 19(a), 22(1),
28(1), 28(2)(d); and
i.) Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (2007) - Articles 10, 21(1), 23, 26, 27, 28, 32. 4. The
j.) Philippines also has several national legislations and executive orders which promote the realization of
right to housing

Key aspects of the right to adequate housing

The United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights has underlined that the
right to adequate housing should not be interpreted narrowly. Rather, it should be seen as the
right to live somewhere in security, peace and dignity. The characteristics of the right to
adequate housing are clarified mainly in the Committee’s general comments No. 4 (1991) on the
right to adequate housing and No. 7 (1997) on forced evictions.1

• The right to adequate housing contains freedoms. These freedoms include:

Protection against forced evictions and the arbitrary destructionand demolition of
one’s home;
The right to be free from arbitrary interference with one’s home,privacy and family;
The right to choose one’s residence, to determine where to liveand to freedom of

• The right to adequate housing contains entitlements. These entitlements include:

Security of tenure;
Housing, land and property restitution;
Equal and non-discriminatory access to adequate housing;
Participation in housing-related decision-making at the nationaland community

• Adequate housing must provide more than four walls and a roof.
• For housing to be adequate, it must, at a minimum, meet the following criteria:

Security of tenure: housing is not adequate if its occupants donot have a degree of
tenure security which guarantees legal protection against forced evictions, harassment
and other threats.
Availability of services, materials, facilities and infrastructure:housing is not
adequate if its occupants do not have safe drinking water, adequate sanitation, energy
for cooking, heating, lighting, food storage or refuse disposal.
Affordability: housing is not adequate if its cost threatens orcompromises the
occupants’ enjoyment of other human rights.
Habitability: housing is not adequate if it does not guaranteephysical safety or
provide adequate space, as well as protection against the cold, damp, heat, rain, wind,
other threats to health and structural hazards.
Accessibility: housing is not adequate if the specific needs ofdisadvantaged and
marginalized groups are not taken into account.
Location:housing is not adequate if it is cut off from employmentopportunities,
health-care services, schools, childcare centres and other social facilities, or if located
in polluted or dangerous areas.
Cultural adequacy: housing is not adequate if it does not respectand take into
account the expression of cultural identity.

• Protection against forced evictions. Protection against forced evictions is a key element
of the right to adequate housing and is closely linked to security of tenure.

The Right to Adequate Housing: Fact Sheet No. 21/Rev.1 available at:

Bret Thiele, JD, The Human Right to Adequate Housing: A Tool for Promoting and Protecting Individual
and Community Health available at: