Forced eviction

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defined in international law as “the permanent or temporary removal against their will of individuals, families and/or communities from the homes and/or land [that] they occupy, without the provision of, and access to, appropriate forms of legal or other protection.”[1]

A forced eviction is distinct from a lawful eviction, whereby the lawful eviction meets a set of legal criteria. A forced eviction is illegal and classified as a “gross violation of human rights” (see Gross violation) as any evictions that fails to meet all of the following criteria:

(a) an opportunity for genuine consultation with those affected; (b) adequate and reasonable notice for all affected persons prior to the scheduled date of eviction; (c) information on the proposed evictions, and, where applicable, on the alternative purpose for which the land or housing is to be used, to be made available in reasonable time to all those affected; (d) especially where groups of people are involved, government officials or their representatives to be present during an eviction; (e) all persons carrying out the eviction to be properly identified; (f) evictions not to take place in particularly bad weather or at night unless the affected persons consent otherwise; (g) provision of legal remedies; (h) provision, where possible, of legal aid to persons who are in need of it to seek redress from the courts; (i) Evictions should not result in individuals being rendered homeless or vulnerable to the violation of other human rights. Where those affected are unable to provide for themselves, the State party must take all appropriate measures, to the maximum of its available resources, to ensure that adequate alternative housing, resettlement or access to productive land, as the case may be, is available.[2] 


[1]   Committee on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights (CESCR), General Comment 7, The right to adequate housing (Art.11.1): forced evictions, 20 May 1997, paras. 15–16, contained in document E/1998/22, annex IV, para. 3, at: http://tbinternet.ohchr.org/_layouts/treatybodyexternal/Download.aspx?symbolno=INT%2fCESCR%2fGEC%2f6430&Lang=en.

[2] Ibid., paras. 15–16..