The right to have access to housing of women who are victims of gender based violence
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The Right to have Access to Housing of Women who are Victims of Gender-Based Violence. Hel é ne Combrinck Centre for Disability Law and Policy Law Faculty, UWC. Outline. Background of research Two propositions Research findings: SA Constitution International and regional law

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The Right to have Access to Housing of Women who are Victims of Gender-Based Violence

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The right to have access to housing of women who are victims of gender based violence

The Right to have Access to Housing of Women who are Victims of Gender-Based Violence

Heléne Combrinck

Centre for Disability Law and

Policy

Law Faculty, UWC


Outline

Outline

Background of research

Two propositions

Research findings:

SA Constitution

International and regional law

Evaluation: Housing delivery programmes

Conclusions


Background of research

Work with SBC Legal Advice and Training Project (partnership CLC)

Joint project 2005-2007: CLC and SBC (ICRW)

Building on previous work of WCN Shelter Focus Group

2008: Establishment of WC Special Needs Housing Forum

Background of Research


Two propositions

Housing needs as a continuum

Domestic violence as forced eviction

Two Propositions


Domestic violence as forced eviction

Forced eviction: permanent or temporary removal against their will of individuals, families or communities from the home or land that they occupy, without the provision of, or access to, legal and other forms of protection.

Causes of forced eviction can be gender-specific

Where victim leaves home because of DV, seeks alternative accommodation?

‘Forced’ eviction?

Domestic Violence as Forced Eviction


Sa constitution

Section 26:

(1) Everyone has the right to have access to adequate housing.

(2) The state must take reasonable legislative and other measures, within its available resources, to achieve the progressive realisation of this right.

(3) No one may be evicted from their home, or have their home demolished, without an order of court made after considering all the relevant circumstances. No legislation may permit arbitrary evictions.

Section 12(1)(c):

Everyone has the right to be free from all forms of violence from either public or private sources.

SA Constitution


Right to have access to adequate housing

Sec 26(2): state to take reasonable measures, within its available resources, to progressively realise right to access to housing

“Reasonableness”: first considered and interpreted in Grootboom

Refined in Rudolph and Olivia Road cases

Right to Have Access to Adequate Housing


Right to freedom from violence

Series of judgments  state’s duty to respond to violence against women

Eg state held liable for failure of state agents to prevent acts of violence against women committed by private actors

Considering housing rights of women subjected to DV: not only sec 26 read with sec 12(1)(c), also substantive equality

Right to Freedom from Violence


International and regional law

Clear standards emerging: relationship between women’s right of access to adequate housing and freedom from violence

Include recognition of state duty to provide women experiencing DV with access to safe housing

International and Regional Law


International and regional law1

Example: Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights –

“… States parties [are required], inter alia, to provide victims of domestic violence, who are primarily female, with access to safe housing, remedies and redress for physical, mental and emotional damage.” [Genl Comment 16, para 27]

CEDAW Committee: A.T. v Hungary (2005)

International and Regional Law


International and regional law2

UN Special Rapporteur on Adequate Housing:

Women living in situations of DV inherently living in inadequate housing

Different groups of women particularly vulnerable to discrimination  face additional obstacles in accessing housing

Special attention required for some groups or categories of women more vulnerable than others, eg victims of DV, women with disabilities, women widowed by AIDS, etc.

Adopted view that DV could amount to forced eviction

International and Regional Law


International and regional law3

Work amplified by UN Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women

African Women’s Protocol – Article 16

International and Regional Law


Evaluation

National Housing Code: doesn’t provide for women who are victims of DV as such

May benefit from existing housing programmes (depending on…)

Availability varies from province to province

Reasonable?

Evaluation


Evaluation1

Looked at various housing delivery programmes at different levels of government (following model of ‘Housing Ladder’):

Emergency housing

Shelters (Institutional and Transitional housing programmes)

Social Housing

Rental and individual home ownership programmes

Evaluation


Evaluation2

Based on Grootboom criteria:

Adopted through legislative and policy means

Reasonably implemented

Flexible and balanced

Must not exclude a significant segment of society

Must be clear and efficient assignment of functions to three spheres of government

Clear that current approach falls short – not only for women experiencing DV, but all persons with special housing needs

Evaluation


Evaluation3

Former Special Rapporteur on Adequate Housing: mission to SA in 2007

Report: observed many women still forced to remain in, or return to situations of DV

Noted lack of specific housing programme to address vulnerable housing groups

Recommendations included restructuring rental housing, formulate national policy for groups with specific housing requirements

Evaluation


Conclusions

Grootboom: consider housing problems in socio-economic and historic context

Women’s increased vulnerability to HIV/AIDS and DV due to lack of access to adequate housing

“Flexible and balanced” – full spectrum

Policy approach: full extent of violation of rights  prioritisation (Rudolph case)

Conclusions


Conclusions1

Conclusions

State duties to address violence against women

Reinforced by conceptualisation of DV as forced eviction

Unvoidable conclusion: current approach to access to housing for women experiencing DV (and other persons with specific housing needs) falls short of standards set in Constitution and international human rights law


Thank you

THANK YOU

Contact Details:

Helene Combrinck

Tel: (021) 959-3601

Fax: (021) 959-2960

[email protected]


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