Sunday, October 28, 2007

A judge demonstrates
what a right to housing means

Rebuild a homeless encampment burned down by police officers -- or face arrest, a judge ordered South African Safety and Security Minister Charles Nqakula.

Nqakula has appealed the order.

About 50 shacks were set afire and the people living there were forcibly evicted from their camp in Moreleta Park. Pretoria High Court judge Bill Prinsloo gave police 12 hours to rebuild their shacks. Eight days later, after the police took no action, the judge ordered Nqakula committed to jail and imposed a fine of R10,000 (about $65,000).

Read the Mail & Guardian report here.

The South African Constitution recognizes a right to housing. The U.S. Constitution does not -- but 12% of Americans believe they have a constitutional right to housing.

To learn more about this issues, check out the National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty's manual "Housing Rights for All."


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