Nepal | October 20, 2020

AI tells govt to ensure safe housing for all people

Himalayan News Service
Share Now:

Nearly half the population isliving in substandard homes; 10 pc people are homeless

Kathmandu, June 12

Nepal chapter of Amnesty International has said that Nepal must strengthen its new legislation on the right to housing to prevent homelessness and ensure safe and adequate housing for all.

AI says right to safe housing is a universal human right that everyone is entitled to without discrimination, yet this remains a challenge in Nepal, where 49 per cent of its population lives in substandard houses and only less than 30 per cent of people’s houses are considered structurally safe.

Amnesty International’s briefing, Nepal:Adequate Housing for all: Analysis of the Right to Housing Act 2018,  calls on the Nepal government to bring the right to housing law, in line with the country’s international human rights obligations concerning right to adequate housing. It also urges the government to rectify the present law through amendments.

Four years on, 50 per cent of the 2015 earthquake victims, who were rendered homeless are still waiting for a housing grant from the government to help rebuild their homes.

“With less than a third of all homes structurally unsafe, nearly half the population living in substandard homes, and one in ten people homeless, legal protections are urgently needed to ensure that people live in safe, humane and durable conditions,”said Raju Chapagai a researcher at Amnesty International.

He said the government must review the act in consultation with the civil society organisations and the human rights institutions, and address its shortcomings by amending the Right to Housing Act, immediately.

As pointed out by Amnesty International’s briefing, the right to housing law needs to be amended to address the underlying causes of homelessness and to create a conducive environment for all to enjoy the right to housing.

The law should avoid confusion and misinterpretation, which could weaken its effectiveness.

AI reports says, at present the law is ambiguous on fundamental issues like who is deemed as homeless and what constitutes safe and adequate housing. The amendment of the current law is also necessary to ensure safeguards against forced evictions of people from their homes and the land they occupy.

“Right to Housing Act only protected those residing in a house built on ‘the land that they own. This is contrary to international human rights law and standards,”according to Chapagai.

Amnesty International calls for amendments to the right to housing law, to clearly lay down specific duties for each level of governments, requiring authorities to conduct periodic assessments of homelessness in the country, and identification of homeless people. It urges the authorities to put in place an effective mechanism to respond to the situations of an individual, a household or a community level homelessness.

The scope of the legal protection should be extended to non-citizens as per the provisions of international law that Nepal is a party to, he said. Chapagai told THT that both the  constitution and the Right to Housing Act granted protection from  homelessness only to the citizens, which was against the provisions of  international law.

AI said the government must ensure that the law supports marginalised communities, such as people living in poverty, those living in informal settlements, Dalits and indigenous people, including Tharu.

“Growing number of people living in deplorable conditions including slums, highlights the government’s failure to uphold its human rights obligations to ensure adequate housing to people. If the government is serious about fixing the country’s housing and homelessness crisis, it must anchor its housing strategies on principles of human rights. It should also reach out to marginalised communities,” said  Chapagai.

He also said that the new act failed to stipulate which level of government had what kind of responsibility in terms of ensuring people’s right to housing.

“Housing rights should not be confined to people’s own land but also in rental places as well,” Chapagai said. As per international law, everybody should be protected from forced eviction, whether one is living in a house that stands in his/her land or in a house built in someone else’s land, he added.

Spokesperson for the Ministry of Urban Development Krishna Prasad Dawadi said his ministry was yet to enact by-laws to implement the Right to Housing Act.

He said that the Ministry of Land Management, Cooperatives and Poverty Alleviation, was yet to identify poor people.

 


A version of this article appears in print on June 13, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.


Follow The Himalayan Times on Twitter and Facebook

Recommended Stories:

More from The Himalayan Times:

Nepalaya releases Dr Sudha Sharma's memoir 'Singha Durbarko Ghumne Mech'

KATHMANDU: Nepalaya book publication house has released Dr Sudha Sharma's memoir 'Singha Durbarko Ghumne Mech'. Issuing a press statement, the publication house said, Nepal's Former President Dr Ram Baran Yadav unveiled the book amid special ceremony in Kathmandu, on Saturday. The book chr Read More...

Pakistan opposition holds mass rally calling for PM Khan to go

KARACHI: Tens of thousands of opposition supporters rallied in Pakistan's largest city of Karachi on Sunday as part of a campaign to oust Prime Minister Imran Khan, who they accuse of being installed by the military in a rigged election two years ago. The mass demonstration in Karachi was Read More...

TVET for well-off career in Tourism and Hospitality

Travel & Tourism is one of the world’s largest economic sectors, supporting one in 10 jobs (330 million) worldwide, and generating 10.3% of global GDP. Over the past five years, one in four new jobs were created by the sector, making Travel & Tourism the best partner for governments to ge Read More...

Dreams of bereaved family shattered after death of ASI Govinda BK

DHANGADHI: The family members of police personnel who was killed in an ambush on Saturday night are still in a state of shock. Assistant Sub Inspector of Police (ASI) Govinda BK was killed in an ambush set up by smugglers on the night of October 17. He had taken the charge of police post based in Read More...

Department of Commerce collects Rs 7.8 million in fines

KATHMANDU: The Department of Commerce, Supplies and Consumer Protection (DCSCP) has collected revenue of over Rs 7.8 million in fines from businesspersons selling substandard goods and operating business illegally. The department had carried out a market monitoring in Kathmandu Valley from Sept Read More...

Public Service Commission halts all written exams until further notice

KATHMANDU: The Public Service Commission has decided to postpone all scheduled written examinations until further notice citing the ongoing coronavirus crisis. Issuing a notice, the PSC has stated that all written exams scheduled by the Commission from November 1 have been halted for the present Read More...

Nepal’s Covid-19 tally hits 136,036 with 3,790 new cases recorded on Monday

KATHMANDU: Nepal registered 3,790 additional cases of coronavirus infection taking the nationwide Covid-19 tally to 136,036, on Monday. There are currently 40,778 active cases of infection while 4,470 people are staying at quarantine facilities across the country. A total of 2,335 people who h Read More...

Ministry of Home Affairs

Home Ministry confirms "emergency curfew" notice as hoax

KATHMANDU: The Ministry of Home Affairs (MoHA) has stated that the "emergency curfew" notice disseminated through a Short Message Service (SMS) and circulating on social media on Monday morning was a hoax. Issuing a press release today, MoHA said that the notice was false, misguiding, baseless, Read More...