HLRN Guide to Practical Solidarity for Defending the Human Right to Adequate Housing


In light of the HLRN Urgent Action methodology, the three developed examples above are of different quality, but all are helpful to understand what can make a case more persuasive and educative. Indeed, an Urgent Action should be enough composed to give not only a full factual picture, but also a legal frame of the situation. The legal dimension is typically omitted, however. Incorporating the relevant legal dimension does not require need additional data from the field, but drawing out the legal facts links the violations to legal obligations.

The victims should naturally be characterized and treated prominently as the rights holders; they are subjects for whom human rights laws have been codified. The human subject constitutes the link between the events and the consequent violation.

Following the circulation of a series of related Urgent Actions, the Lyari Expressway case has been developed further by applying this methodology specifically to serve as a positive example. Based on a lot of data collected over a few months, it, therefore, became much longer than any actual UA presentation should be. However, the case was selected and redrafted above all to comply with this methodology’s procedure and steps. Under normal circumstance, much less data would be available for an UA written at the time when the violation is being planned and/or revealed as pending. That does not mean that the appeal cannot gather all the information that should be introduced according to the methodology. In this way, the Ichikawa case constitutes an effective model

The Ichikawa example has not been contrived as a model, but has been chosen because it meets quite well the criteria of the methodology. It is more concise in form, but contains the essential components, including the legal facts, rights and duties. Based on little factual information, it conveys the corresponding violations of State obligations arising from international law. Therefore, the UA respondent can rest his/her protest letter on legal authority.

The Hebron, Palestine example exemplifies what pitfalls the UA appeal writer should avoid in order to build a strong and compelling case. The raw facts are presented, but neither verified, sufficiently personalized nor contextualized in a legal (housing rights) frame. That UA may be very brief and, therefore, quickly read, but incomplete.

After the important step of collecting and verifying data, the HLRN methodology and the “Tool kit” will be useful to find the information needed to complete the case, namely concerning its legal aspect. What does not appear in these examples is the follow-up. This step is, nonetheless, vital. It will be the best way to broaden your UA”s scope and effectiveness by raising public awareness, building long-term solidarity, imposing continuous pressure on the duty holders, especially the States that have to respect, protect, promote and fulfill human rights. As pointed out in the introduction above, the methodology and the UA itself could serve multiple purposes beyond the solicitation of protest letters. Thus, follow-up and reporting back—to both victims and respondents—is also the ultimate task in the UA scheme that substantiates the value of this form of practical solidarity.