Human Rights2019-03-22T18:14:35+00:00

Human Rights

Reports and resources on enforcing the human rights of individuals experiencing homelessness.

Public Charge Information and Resources

The Protecting Immigrant Families (PIF) Campaign has important information on the proposed changes to the regulations on being considered a public charge in immigration. This status can negatively impact immigration applications, and potentially cause them to be denied. The information provided includes a resources page with fact sheets, FAQs, and other useful documents.

Human Right to Housing Report Card, 2016
This report card assesses the current level of US compliance with the human right to housing in the context of American homelessness. In doing so, we consider the country as a whole, and policy at all levels of government, as it relates to homelessness, including its prevention.

Additional Resources: Previous years report cards

Simply Unacceptable: Homelessness and the Human Right to Housing in the United States
Prior to the foreclosure crisis and economic recession, homelessness was already a national crisis. Since then, homelessness has increased dramatically. This report assesses the current level of U.S. compliance with the human right to housing in the context of American homelessness. In doing so, we consider the country as a whole, and policy at all levels of government, as it related to homelessness, including its prevention. It is not, and not intended to be, a comprehensive review and assessment of implementation of all aspects of the right.

Human Rights to Human Reality: A 10 Step Guide to Strategic Human Rights Advocacy
Working consistently for the past two decades, the Law Center is achieving unprecedented success in getting federal agencies to address the criminalization of homelessness as a human rights violation. This guide presents ten steps as a case study of our experiences that we believe can help others achieve broader respect for, and implementation of, human rights.

Housing Rights for All: Promoting and Defending Housing Rights in the United States, Fifth Edition: A Resource Manual on International Law and the Human Right to Adequate Housing

NLCHP developed this resource manual as a guide for housing rights activists in the United States and for those interested in becoming involved in housing rights issues and/or for use as a resource during training programs. The manual presents information, articles, and activities which should assist in expanding understanding of the relevant issues.

Extreme Poverty & Human Rights Report 2017: Violations of the Human Rights of Persons Experiencing Homelessness in the United States. A Report to the Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty & Human Rights
This report, submitted to the U.N. Special Rapporteur in advance of his planned December 2017 visit to the U.S., outlines violations of the human rights of persons experiencing homelessness — essentially the most extreme form of poverty — in the United States of America.

CAT Criminalization Shadow Report 2014: Criminalization of Homelessness in the United States of America
Submission to the United Nations Committee Against Torture for its 2014 Review of the United States of America
September 15, 2014
This report was submitted by the Law Center as the chair of the US Human Rights Network’s CAT Homelessness Working Group discussing the criminalization of homelessness in the United States as part of the U.S.’s review by the U.N. Committee Against Torture. The Working Group included the National Coalition for the Homeless and Southern Legal Counsel, and the report was endorsed by an additional thirty-seven organizations and seven individuals.

Human Rights Shadow Reporting: A Strategic Tool for Domestic Justice
This article was published in the January-February 2009 edition of Clearinghouse REVIEW Journal of Poverty Law and Policy, Volume 42, Numbers 9-10.

UPR Housing Report 2014: Housing and Homelessness in the United States of America
Submission to the United Nations Universal Periodic Review of United States of America, September 15, 2014
This report, submitted by the Law Center and the US Human Rights Network UPR Housing Working Group, and endorsed by an additional forty-six organizations and individuals, discusses the housing and homelessness in the United States in relation to the US’s human rights obligations.

Opening the Door to the Human Right to Housing: The Universal Periodic Review and Strategic Federal Advocacy for a Rights-Based Approach to Housing
This article was published in the September-October 2011 edition of Clearinghouse REVIEW Journal of Poverty Law and Policy, Volume 45, Numbers 5-6.

CERD Housing Report 2014: A Report to the U.N. Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination on Racial Discrimination in Housing and Homelessness in the United States, July 3, 2014
This report, submitted by the Law Center and LACAN, and endorsed by an additional thirty-nine organizations and individuals, discusses the violations of the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination in the areas of housing and homelessness in the United States.

Human Rights Day 2013
This letter from the IAOHRA President and Columbia’s Human Rights Institute promotes the human rights resolutions passed in 2013, including those related to the criminalization of homelessness and Homeless Bills of Rights.

U.N. Human Rights Committee Calls U.S. Criminalization of Homelessness “Cruel, Inhuman, and Degrading”
The U.N. Human Rights Committee in Geneva condemned the criminalization of homelessness in the United States as “cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment” that violates international human rights treaty obligations, and called upon the U.S. government to take corrective action.

IAOHRA Resolutions 2013
Resolutions Against the Criminalization of Homelessness and Promoting Human Rights by the International Association of Official Human Rights Agencies

Homeless Persons Access to Injustice Fact Sheet
This fact sheet, describing the challenges faced by many homeless persons in their encounters with the criminal justice system, was presented at the April 1st, 2014 consultation on Access to Justice to over fifty representatives from the Departments of Justice, State, Housing & Urban Development, and the White House Office of Domestic Policy Council.

Columbia Human Rights Law Review: Special Edition on the Symposium on the Right to Adequate Housing in the United States, Volume 45, Issue 3 (2014)
On April 26, 2013, the Law Center co-hosted a national symposium on Bringing Economic & Social Rights Home: The Right to Adequate Housing in the United States. Articles in this special issue of the Columbia Human Rights Law Review provide an important complement to, and expansion of, the day’s discussion. Authored by symposium participants and experts in the field, these essays explore in greater detail several of the topics touched upon in the symposium and contribute to the emerging literature exploring opportunities to establish the human right to housing in the United States.

Welcome Home: The Rise of Tent Cities in the United States
This report documents the rise of homeless encampments and “tent cities” across the United States, and the legal and policy responses to both.

Additional Resources

Can I Get Some Remedy? Criminalization of Homelessness and the Obligation to Provide an Effective Remedy
45 Col. HRLR 738 (2014)
This Article reviews the types of remedies available and those ordered by federal and state courts in both criminalization of homelessness and non-criminalization cases, and evaluates courts’ reluctance to provide greater, more effective relief for homeless plaintiffs. Not only do U.S. courts have the ability to fashion comprehensive equitable remedies such as providing housing when traditional ones have been proven ineffective, but evolving standards among international human rights courts and national constitutional courts may eventually obligate them to do so in order to protect the human rights of vulnerable populations.

Cruel, Inhuman, and Degrading: Homelessness in the United States under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Submitted to the U.N. Human Rights Committee
This report details violations of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) stemming from U.S. policy toward the more than 3.5 million people who experience homelessness in the U.S. annually. While the U.S. government should be commended for recognizing that the imposition of criminal penalties on homeless people is counterproductive public policy in violation of the ICCPR and Convention Against Torture, criminalization of homelessness at the state and local levels continues to cause significant rights violations.

Eric Tars, Senior Attorney, on “The Pacifica Evening News,” discussing the 2014 CERD Review
This radio program aired on 09/04/14 on KPFA FM, Berkeley, California.
(MP3 audio file)

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