Methods to claim your rights

Sample cases on housing, land and food rights

Tuesday 31 May 2011

This guide focuses on violations of housing, land and food rights by both the private and public sector in rural and urban areas. These rights are often violated as a result of the failure to implement an adequate consultation and negotiation procedure and to compensate victims. As a consequence of human rights indivisibility and interrelatedness, the negation of these rights, regardless of whether they happen in rural or urban areas, brings about a series of dramatic consequences as well as multiple other human rights violations, be they civil or political (abuses, intimidations) or economic, social and cultural1 (related to food, health, education, employment, etc).

When faced with human rights violation, people are often tempted to react immediately and hastily. And yet, acting for the recognition of a human rights violation and demanding redress or compensation, like any other claim, implies following methods and taking precautions to use one’s energy and means in the most efficient way as possible. The purpose of this guide is to provide civil society organisations (CSOs) tools to enable them to assert and claim their rights. The methods discussed were taken from sample cases on housing, land and food rights but they may be applied to address violations of other rights.

This guide was completed within the framework of the Programme “ESC rights Action” for the exchange of experiences on economic, social and cultural rights enforceability approaches coordinated by Terre des Hommes France.

It is based on stakeholders’ experiences with various practices, cultures and backgrounds such as the Philippine Human Rights Information Center (PhilRights) in the Philippines, the Integrated Rural Development Society (IRDS) in India, Federação of Órgãos para Assistência Social e Educacional (FASE) in Brazil, the Réseau National des Habitants du Cameroun (RNHC, National Network of People Living in Cameroon), Juristes-Solidarités in France, Foundation for Educational Innovations in Asia (Fedina) in India and members of the Malian and Senegalese ESC rights plateforms.

As a supplement to field experiences, this guide also used contributions of Survival, Amnesty international, CCFD-Terre Solidaire, as well as some tools such as the Sherpa worksheets on transnational corporations and their societal responsibility3, United Nations (UN) websites or documents, etc.

This Guide is intended for civil society stakeholders who implement actions to defend people’s rights. It should be considered as a set of rights justiciability and enforceability methods that may be followed by civil society stakeholders, but not as a comprehensive compilation of rights advocacy methods.

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Methods to claim your rights. Sample cases on housing, land and food rights

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