Home is Where the Heart Is: Sexual Orientation Discrimination and the Right to Adequate Housing in International Law

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This article is relevant for humanitarian and development practitioners, especially those working in the shelter and resettlement areas, because it provides legal arguments for the right to housing for people with diverse SOGIESC.

In this Note for the Geo Wash Int’l L Rev, Smith discusses the ways in which LGBTI people are overrepresented in homeless populations and the international legal mechanisms and instruments that mandate non-discrimination in the right to adequate housing. Smith argues that housing is guaranteed for LGBTI persons through international legal mechanisms that prevent discrimination.

Smith first establishes the international instruments protecting the right to adequate housing before delving into regional international instruments (the Charter of the Organisation of American States, for instance); the customary international law protecting the right to adequate housing (France’s Law of 31 May 1990, for example); international instruments through which to enforce non-discrimination; and domestic enforcement of non-discrimination access to adequate housing. Smith then provides evidence to the protection of sexual orientation as an internationally protected status before analysing the obligation of parties to protect the right to housing for LGBTI people under non-discrimination instruments and mechanisms.

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"The human right to adequate housing is well established under both conventional and customary international law."

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In this Note for the Geo Wash Int’l L Rev, Smith discusses the ways in which LGBTI people are overrepresented in homeless populations and the international legal mechanisms and instruments that mandate non-discrimination in the right to adequate housing. Smith argues that housing is guaranteed for LGBTI persons through international legal mechanisms that prevent discrimination.

Smith first establishes the international instruments protecting the right to adequate housing before delving into regional international instruments (the Charter of the Organisation of American States, for instance); the customary international law protecting the right to adequate housing (France’s Law of 31 May 1990, for example); international instruments through which to enforce non-discrimination; and domestic enforcement of non-discrimination access to adequate housing. Smith then provides evidence to the protection of sexual orientation as an internationally protected status before analysing the obligation of parties to protect the right to housing for LGBTI people under non-discrimination instruments and mechanisms.