Violations of Housing Rights of Tsunami Survivors

What is affected
Housing Social/public
Housing private
Land Social/public
Land Private
Roads, Schools, Hospitals, etc
Type of violation Demolition/destruction
Date 26 December 2004
Region A [ Asia ]
Country Sri Lanka
Location Coastal Areas

Affected persons

Total 800000
Men 0
Women 0
Children 0
Proposed solution
Land losses

- Land area (square meters)

- Total value
Housing losses
- Number of homes 150000
- Total value €

Duty holder(s) /responsible party(ies)

Brief narrative In Sri Lanka, the tsunami of December 26, 2004, left over 800,000 homeless and completely or partially damaged almost 150,000 homes. The response of the Sri Lankan government and aid agencies has been inadequate and there have been serious violations of human rights in efforts to provide adequate housing to affected populations.

A fact-finding mission conducted in August 2005 discovered the following:
- Relief and rehabilitation assistance had not reached all those affected
- Assistance was not entirely based on a comprehensive needs assessment
- Most relief and rehabilitation efforts were conducted in a gender-neutral manner, ignoring the unique needs of women, and often increasing the level of discrimination against them
- Most measures did not account for the special needs of other populations, children and refugees for instance, and were not sensitive to local cultures and conditions
- Participation of affected communities in planning and implementing relief and rehabilitation policies was limited.
- An effective mechanism was not present to implement and monitor the provision of assistance and compensation and to ensure accountability of the government and of relief agencies.
- Temporary shelters were inadequate with respect to habitability, sanitation, security, location, and culture. The planning of permanent structures was slow or not yet initiated [as of August 2005]. Poor health conditions and physical insecurity were common in temporary shelters.
- Many people did not have adequate access to water, food, and sanitation services
- Counselling for affected people, particularly children, was limited

For the full report on these post-tsunami violations of human rights in Sri Lanka, particularly the human right to housing, please see Fact-Finding Mission Report 8 "Post-tsunami relief and rehabilitation: A Violation of Human Rights" published by South Asia Regional Programme, Housing and Land Rights Network, Habitat International Coalition. The document can be found at:
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