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(In)formal Migrant Settlements and Right to Respect for a Home

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Across European cities, migrants without access to state facilities, resort to living in ‘makeshift camps’ or squats. These settlements are usually evacuated and demolished by state authorities. Instead of discussing the state’s positive obligation to provide decent housing, this article focusses solely on the state’s negative obligations under the right to respect for a home as laid down in Article 8 of the European Convention of Human Rights (ECHR). Drawing upon the cases of Calais and Amsterdam, this article scrutinizes domestic case law about evictions from (in)formal migrant settlements and compares that to case law of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR). We argue that the ECtHR case law provides a relevant framework that should be used to evaluate the legitimacy of evictions and destructions of (in)formal migrants’ settlements. Despite the fact that applying this framework would not entail a complete ban on evictions, it would provide some welcome (procedural and substantive) protection for migrants.

Affiliations: 1: Vrije Universiteit AmsterdamThe Netherlands ; 2: Vrije Universiteit AmsterdamThe Netherlands


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