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In 2018, the United Nations (UN) Special Rapporteur on the right to adequate housing announced her intention to devote her forthcoming report to the UN General Assembly to the issue of informal settlements and human rights. She published an invitation for interested parties to furnish her with relevant information on informal settlements and human rights from their countries.

In terms of this invitation the Socio-Economic Rights Institute of South Africa (SERI), in collaboration with the Steering Group of the South Africa’s Ratification Campaign of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and its Optional Protocol (the Campaign) and some individual experts, made a submission on informal settlements and human rights in South Africa on 22 May 2018.

The submission includes statistical data on the number of people living in informal settlements in South Africa, information on the profound inequalities in access to basic services in informal settlements, information on the environmental, health and safety concerns facing informal settlement residents, and information on the legal and policy framework governing informal settlements in South Africa. The submission may therefore be a useful resource on the challenged facing informal settlement residents in South Africa.

The submission was written by SERI's Michael Clark, Maanda Makwarela and Daiyaan Halim, SERI board member and professor at the University of the Witwatersrand, Lillian Chenwi, and the Dullah Omar Institute for Constitutional Law, Governance and Human Rights (DOI)'s Gladys Mirugi-Mukundi. Black Sash, the Dullah Omar Institute, the People's Health Movement of South Africa (PHM-SA) and the Studies in Poverty and Inequality Institute (SPII) undersigned the submission. 

  • Read the UN Special Rapporteur's questionnaire on informal settlements and human rights here.
  • Read the joint submission on informal settlements in South Africa (May 2018) here.