1. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) states in Article 25.1 that “Everyone has the right to an adequate standard of living adequate for their health and well-being of himself and his family, including food, clothing and housing..” 
  2.   The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR). Accession by India on 10 April 1979. Article 11.1 of the ICESCR calls upon States Parties “ to recognize the right of everyone to an adequate standard of living for himself and his family, including adequate food, closing and housing, and to the continuous improvement of living conditions.  The States Parties will take appropriate steps to ensure the realization of this right, recognizing to this effect the essential importance of international co-operation based on free consent.”
  3. The International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD). Ratified by India on 3 December 1968.  Article 5 (e) (iii) of CERD obliges States  “ to prohibit and eliminate racial discrimination in all of its forms and to guarantee the right of everyone, without distinction as to race, colour or national or ethnic origin, to equality before the law, notably in the enjoyment of .. the right to housing.
  4. The Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC). Accession by India on 11 December 1992.  Article 16.1 of the CRC states that: “No child shall be subjected to arbitrary or unlawful interference with his or her privacy, family, home or correspondence, not to unlawful attacks on his or her honour and reputation.” Article 27.3 states that “States Parties, in accordance national conditions and within their means, shall take appropriate measures to assist parents and others responsible for the child to implement this right and shall in the case of need provide material assistance and support programmes, particularly with regard to nutrition, clothing and housing.” 
  5. The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW). Ratified by India on 9 July 1993.  Article 14.2(h) states that: “States Parties shall undertake all appropriate measures to eliminate discrimination against women in rural areas in order to ensure, on a basis of equality of men and women, that they participate in and benefit from rural development and, in particular, shall ensure to such women the right … (h) to enjoy adequate living conditions, particularly in relation to housing, sanitation, electricity and water supply, transport and communications.”
  6. Convention 107 of the International Labour Organisation concerning the Protection and Integration of Indigenous and other Tribal and Semi-Tribal Populations in Independent Countries. Ratified by India in 1958. Article 2(1), 12 (1) and 12(2) protect the land rights of tribal and indigenous populations.
  7. UN Commission on Human Rights resolution 1993/77 entitled ‘Forced Evictions’ affirms that the “Practice of forced evictions constitutes a gross violation of human rights, in particular the right to adequate housing.”
  8. General Comment No. 4 (1991) “The right to adequate housing” of the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. The Committee states that “the right to housing should not be interpreted in a narrow or restrictive sense which equates it with shelter provided by merely having a roof over one’s head or views shelter exclusively as a commodity. Rather it should be seen as the right to live somewhere in security, peace and dignity”(Para 7). Flowing from this holistic conception of the right to housing the Committee has outlined seven basic contents of the right to adequate housing: (a) legal security of tenure; (b) availability of services, materials, facilities and infrastructure; (c) affordability; (d) habitability; (e) accessibility; (f) location; and (g) cultural adequacy (Para 8). In this General Comment the Committee also states that “forced evictions are, prima facie, incompatible with the requirements of the ICESCR and can only be justified in the most exceptional circumstances and in accordance with the relevant principles of international law.”  (Para 18).
  9. General Comment no. 7 (1997) on “forced evictions” of the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, which lays down procedural conditions that need to be satisfied prior to evictions taking place, states that in any case evictions should not “result in rendering individuals homeless or vulnerable to the violations of other human rights….. ” 
  10. UN Comprehensive human rights guidelines on development-based displacement (1997) has stated that all persons who have been evicted should have a right to compensation which should include land and access to common property resources and should not be restricted to cash payments.
  11. UN Commission on Human Rights resolution 2000/13 and 2001/34 entitled “Women’s equal ownership of, access to and control over land and the equal rights to own property and to adequate housing” reaffirmed that forced relocation and forced evictions from home and land have a disproportionately severe impact on women and encourages governments to ensure that women have equal treatment in land and agrarian reforms as well as in resettlement schemes and in ownership of property and in adequate housing.”