Hogar Sí publishes a strategic litigation guide in case of discrimination against homeless people

Hogar Sí is an organization that works so that no one lives on the street. The starting point is the human rights-based approach to looking at the phenomenon of homelessness.

This approach links the eradication of homelessness with issues of fundamental rights and not only with issues of social accompaniment. From this point of view, homelessness, in addition to being a violation of human rights, exposes homeless people to other types of violence and discrimination, mainly due to aporophobia. According to data from the HATEnto Observatory (2015), we have a long way to go to end this discrimination, since 47% of people in situation of homelessness would have been victim of some type of crime or aporophobic hate incident and 81.3 % amongst those would have suffered more than one crime or incident.

The entity Hogar Sí has begun to use strategic litigation to defend the right to a home. And thorough this learning process it has developed a guide on how to use this tool.

We are proud to announce that we have collaborated – together with organizations such as Amnesty International, Civio Foundation, Secretariado Gitano Foundation, Women’s LinkWorldwide, Housing Rights Watch, among others – in its creation.

Underreporting is a phenomenon related to the fact that victims of hate crimes usually do not report for multiple reasons, not only due to aporophobia: fear of reprisals, lack of perception of having been victims of a hate incident or crime, lack of trust in the authorities or for not knowing how to act. 87% of people in a situation of homelessness do not report it. Sometimes, this phenomenon is not only attributable to the victims, but also to a lack of training of the professionals involved in the entire process that involves reporting a hate crime, from third-sector professionals to police services, the legal profession, the prosecutor’s office. or judiciary. This shows us that advances in public policy and legal regulation in the field of hate crimes and discrimination must be accompanied by mechanisms that make possible to overcome barriers to access to police and justice services. For this reason, the project in which this report is framed has the innovative objective of creating a strategic litigation system around discriminatory incidents and crimes motivated by aporophobia and against people in a situation of homelessness.

Discriminatory incidents (those acts that do not amount to a crime) or the discriminatory public policies themselves are, in most cases, an important focus in strategic litigation, due to the value they have in the definition of new public policies.

Although much remains to be done with reference to hate crimes such as sexual, physical or verbal assaults, such incidents together with the learned helplessness of homeless people play an important role in discriminatory experiences, even if they are not so obvious as major acts of violence. It is intended to trace the necessary path to favor the defense of the human rights of people in a situation of homelessness who have been victims of discrimination and hate crimes due to aporophobia, as a fundamental aspect for citizens’ access to justice.

You can download the complete guide here.

Red Jurídica is a cooperative of lawyers who practice law from a critical perspective. We offer services in Criminal, Civil, Family, Labor Law, etc.

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