United States: Evictions of Katrina Victims Violate Human Right to Housing

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United States: Evictions of Katrina Victims Violate Human Right to Housing
01 March 2006
 

The eviction of thousands of Hurricane Katrina survivors from hotels reveals the need for stronger government policies that afford those displaced by the hurricane basic and decent shelter until they are permanently housed. After a court-ordered extension of the deadline for withdrawing federal support ended on Feb. 13, 2006, hurricane survivors were forced to either leave their temporary homes or pay for the hotel rooms themselves. Some received word of their eviction just three weeks ago. Most of the 8,000 individuals fortunate enough to receive extensions only have until March 1 to find a new place to live.

Under the U.N. Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement, the internationally recognized human rights standards for people displaced within their own country by disaster, authorities are required to “provide internally displaced persons with and ensure safe access to . . . basic shelter and housing.”[i] The United States has taken the position since at least July 2001 that "all states should apply internationally recognized norms with regard to internally displaced persons" and supported the establishment of the Guiding Principles as the “normative standard for international treatment of internal displacement.”[ii] Yet,

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