Council of Europe. Article 31 of the European Social Charter states that everyone has the Right to Housing.

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▶ “Article 31 – The Right to Housing

With a view to ensuring the effective exercise of the right to housing, the Parties undertake to take measures designed:

  • to promote access to housing of an adequate standard ;
  • to prevent and reduce homelessness with a view to its gradual elimination ;
  • to make the price of housing accessible to those without adequate resources”.

▶ To celebrate the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty (17 October 2018), the Conference of INGOs of the Council of Europe organised a working session on Article 31 of the European Social Charter which states that everyone has the Right to Housing. The lack of respect for the right to housing has serious impact on the health of those concerned, on their access to the labour market, education, protection, privacy, autonomy. In other words, it impedes them from living a dignified life. Article 31 is therefore a cornerstone, the respect of which guarantees the fundamental rights laid down in the European Social Charter.

The European Observatory for Non-Discrimination and Fundamental Rights took part in this day with the preparation of recommendations for the implementation of Article 31 of the European Social Charter, following the decisions and conclusions recently adopted by the European Committee of Social Rights.

▶ Failure to respect the right to housing violates this article. Considering the limited number of Council of Europe member States that have accepted article 31 (14 so far), other articles of the Charter provide equivalent protection for the right to housing such as Article 16 which deals with the right of the family to legal and economic social protection or Article 11 relating to right to health. In addition, cases of national jurisprudence condemning “sleep merchants” (owners who rent substandard housing) have been discussed, as well as recent judgments of the European Court of Human Rights.

The European Social Charter is a Treaty of the Council of Europe that guarantees fundamental social and economic rights, which is the counterpart of the European Convention on Human Rights, which refers to civil and political rights. It guarantees a wide range of everyday human rights related to employment, housing, health, education, social protection and social services.

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European Social Charter