COHRE 1991-2014

Welcome to the Permanent COHRE Web Archive!

With many of its original key objectives to mainstream the heretofore obscure right to adequate housing largely met, after some 23 years of highly innovative and uncompromising efforts in support of housing rights for everyone, everywhere, the Centre on Housing Rights and Evictions (COHRE) closed its doors in December 2014.

COHRE achieved a great deal during its extraordinary history. Through its wholly unique combination of extremely hard work in often difficult conditions in slums, war zones and countries emerging from conflict, combined with a light-hearted and laid back informal approach to human rights work that is often lacking in so many NGO offices, COHRE fundamentally altered the international legal and institutional housing rights landscapes, helped craft scores of new global standards and engaged in efforts in numerous countries to prevent a series of planned large-scale evictions which – had they been carried out – would have made hundreds of thousands of people homeless.

From generating the first-ever UN resolution on forced evictions in 1991, followed quickly by its work leading to UN General Comment No. 4 on the Right to Adequate Housing, also in 1991, and then scores of other instrumental texts, COHRE’s standard-setting efforts were unparalleled. COHRE’s work to achieve comprehensive condemnation of forced evictions as violations of human rights, official violation pronouncements against certain governments because of forced evictions, the creation by the UN of several human rights rapporteurs, combined with ground-breaking thematic work on women’s housing rights, housing and property restitution for refugees and IDPs, the right to water and what became the complaint procedures under the Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, were widely recognised throughout the human rights community.

From the founding of COHRE in Scott Leckie’s Utrecht home in 1991 to what eventually became one of the world’s largest and most influential human rights organisations with offices and programmes in 11 countries, and an international headquarters in Geneva, COHRE provided a platform for global voices in support of the rights of the world’s most vulnerable people. COHRE was also the institutional home for many who later went on to careers in the UN, leading universities and other global NGOs.

During its almost quarter-century of work, COHRE produced hundreds of path-breaking books, reports, articles, documentary films and papers many of which are still frequently cited today in the vast human rights literature of the digital era. These highly innovative publications, most of which the first to ever address the subjects they examined, continue to influence the never-ending quest to finally end homelessness, inadequate housing and forced evictions the world over.

This web archive provides the full texts of all of COHRE’s major publications and films issued from 1991-2014. All of these publications may be freely downloaded by anyone who would like to use them in support of their work.