Yordanova and Others v. Bulgaria: The Influence of the Social Right to Adequate Housing on the Interpretation of the Civil Right to Respect for One's Home
Human Rights Law Review, 2012, vol. 12 (4), pp. 787-800
14 Pages Posted: 20 Dec 2015
Date Written: December 22, 2012
On 24 April 2012, the European Court of Human Rights handed down a unanimous judgment in the case of Yordanova and Others v Bulgaria, in which it ruled against Bulgaria for its attempt to remove Bulgarian nationals of Roma origin from their homes which had been unlawfully built on municipal land in the neighbourhood of Sofia. In short, the Court found that the enforcement of the removal order would amount to a violation of the applicants’ right to respect for their home guaranteed by Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). Even though the eviction order was in accordance with domestic law and pursued legitimate aims, it was not ‘necessary in a democratic society’ as the decision-making procedure not only ‘did not offer safeguards against disproportionate interference [with the right to respect for one’s home] but also involved a failure to consider the question of “necessity in a democratic society.”The judgment represents the most advanced European jurisprudence to date on the issue of forced evictions. In particular, the Court’s interpretation of the civil right to respect for one’s home was infused by an understanding of the social right to adequate housing, which has been developed by, among others, the United Nations (UN) Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR) and the European Committee of Social Rights (ECSR). The ECtHR’s approach highlights how the distinction between the civil and political rights and the socio-economic ones is, at least to a certain extent, artificial.
Keywords: right to adequate housing, European Court of Human Rights, forced evictions, right to respect for home
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