Fighting social exclusion through housing rights in Latin America

by TrustLaw
Tuesday, 4 August 2015 11:51 GMT

In Latin America, more than 134 million people live in informal settlements known as “slums”. Social exclusion due to economic factors such as lack of adequate housing is an obstacle individuals living in slums grapple with everyday. Due to their living environment, they are also more likely to incur public health and social service costs.

Through Trustlaw, TECHO Argentina, a youth non-profit, worked with PAGBAM and seven other law firms to conduct research on the right to housing in Latin America and the federal supreme court of Argentina’s interpretation of the enforceability of an individual’s right to housing based on international human rights treaties.

“Assuming these rights are not merely declarations but enforceable rights, then we can rely on them to claim international and national protection”, said Lucas Hunter, National Director of TECHO Argentina.

The comprehensive guide depicts best housing practices as well as informs policy decision makers on measures to fight social exclusion through housing in Latin America. Law firms also investigated laws relating to forced eviction and squatters’ rights throughout nine jurisdictions.

“We were very interested in working on the project due to its scope. Our lawyers found it to be an incredibly enriching experience because they had the opportunity to communicate with a range of lawyers who share the same commitment to pro bono work within Latin America”, said María de la Paz Miatella, Junior Associate of PAGBAM law firm.

This report could have a significant influence on the development and improvement of housing practices and policies throughout Latin America.

“These guidelines have policy impact”, said Maria.


This project has been nominated for the 2015 TrustLaw Innovation Award. Learn more about the TrustLaw Awards.