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ECHR launches campaign to enshrine the right to adequate housing in the Egyptian Constitution

ECHR launches campaign to enshrine the right to adequate housing in the Egyptian Constitution

Adequate housing is not just a collective right, it is also the right of every individual, every man, woman and child everywhere

The campaign based on that the right to adequate housing is a human right, which has been recognized on a wide scale by international human rights instruments that have been signed and ratified by Egypt, and thus the state becomes bound by these instruments to recognize the right to adequate housing in its Legislation and to respect, protect and fulfill it. 

In addition, the campaign based the housing crisis in Egypt, which became one of the biggest social problems in Egypt if not the biggest ever, according to which it became difficult to achieve the dream of housing for the majority of the Egyptian people.

The policies of successive governments since the seventies of the last century and until the revolution of January 25, 2011, since the start of the open door economic policy to the adoption of neoliberal economic policies, that led to the serious housing problems experienced by Egypt. These policies sided with the capital at the expense of the majority of the Egyptian people from the poor and middle classes. Such policies led to the emergence of patterns of distorted housing such as informal areas, shacks, graveyards, garages, shops, down the bridges, rooftops and other patterns of housing that cannot be described in any way as adequate housing. 

The housing crisis in Egypt is not an economic crisis resulting from the deficit in the capabilities and resources, as far as the crisis is resulting from the absence of social justice in planning for housing over decades.  For instance, at the time that 15.5 million people live in informal areas, about more than three million Egyptian families, we find that there are 5.8 million vacant housing units (not used before). Furthermore, while 18% of Egyptian families living in one room and share the rest of the families in one bathroom, we find that there is a category of people suffer from abundance and glut in housing, Thus, in Egypt we have a quarter-million families own three units, a million families own two units, and 8 million own one unit each, while we have more than 3 million families do not have anything and they represent the real gap in the housing problem.

Not only the successive Egyptian governments adopted biased policies, but also adopted an arsenal of legislations in order to implements such biased policies such as Law No.4 of the year 1996, which is known as the law of the relationship between landlord and tenant, which leave the tenant without any protection of the arbitrary terms of landlords. Such laws and policies led to distort the Egyptian real estate market where the percentage of ownership units in the real estate market is 70% at the time that in any respected state, the ownership housing units in the real estate market should not be more than 50%. Accordingly, Egypt's poor and lower middle classes were expulsed out of the real estate market and had no chance to find housing units except in informal areas.

Moreover, not only the Egyptian state gave up its obligations towards the majority of the Egyptian people in relation to the right to adequate housing, but also it committed serious violations of the right to housing through the application of a wide scale policy of forced evictions targeting mainly informal areas to seize the lands for the benefit of investors and businessmen under false claims of development and public interest.

After the revolution and the election of the People Assembly, ECHR tracked all initiatives and theses of the policies of housing. The Center made sure tha all proposed initiatives and policies are not vary from the same policies and directions of the pre-January 25. Such a conclusion emphasizes the vision of the Center that the right to adequate housing should be enshrined explicitly in the Egyptian constitution, to be the basis that directs all housing policies, plans, and laws.

The Egyptian revolution raised its great slogans of freedom, dignity, and social justice, to write a new history of Egypt based on these three principles. Therefore, and based on these principles, it is the time to enshrine explicitly the right to adequate housing in the constitution. Thus, a pre condition before demanding a state by respecting, protecting and fulfilling any human right is to recognize this right at first.    

Because of all what was mentioned above the Egyptian Center for Housing Rights announces the start of his campaign to enshrine the right to adequate housing in the Egyptian Constitution.

Address: 33 Kasr El Nil Street - Round IX - Liberation
Phone +202  23922194

Fax +202  23952952
Email: echreg@echreg.org

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