COVID-19 and the Right to Housing: Reimagining housing as a human right during the pandemic and beyond
- Karen Engle Founder and Co-Director; Minerva House Drysdale Regents Chair in Law
Rapoport Center co-director Karen Engle participated in a global academic panel discussion on “COVID-19 and the Right to Housing: Reimagining housing as a human right during the pandemic and beyond.” The panel discussed the report of the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Adequate Housing, Balakrishnan Rajagopal, to the UN General Assembly. It was organized by the Displacement Research and Action Network at MIT.
Abstract: Housing is the front line against the COVID-19 pandemic — and yet, it fails to be seen as a matter of life-or-death. “Having no home, lacking space for physical distancing in overcrowded living areas or having inadequate access to water and sanitation has become a ‘death sentence,’ handed out predominantly against poor and marginalized communities,” affirms Special Rapporteur on the right to adequate housing Balakrishnan Rajagopal in his first report to the UN General Assembly. As countries grapple with the effects of COVID-19, the Special Rapporteur reminds us that the global housing landscape cannot return to a pre-pandemic scenario; doing so would mean the resumption of mass evictions, the expansion of homelessness, and the acceptance that the contours of urbanization are spatially shaped by discrimination in access to housing. How can we seize the current moment to actualize housing as a human right and imagine a better future for all?