Homeless People and the Right to Housing in Belarus

Homelessness is the most visible and extreme violation of the right to adequate housing. A lack of adequate housing is a factor contributing to the vulnerability of homeless people, and often leads to the violation of their rights to life, freedom from discrimination, health, work, privacy, and freedom from cruel or degrading treatment.

The goal of this report is to analyze state policies and mechanisms that offer assistance to homeless people in Belarus from the perspective of everyone’s right to adequate housing. This report also presents the problems which homeless people encounter when engaging with these mechanisms – problems which impede the full realization of their rights, or which directly violate them. These issues are addressed within the first and second parts of the report, respectively.

This report is based on a study of Belarusian legislation which directly or indirectly affects the realization of homeless people’s rights, relevant publications in mass media, other secondary sources of information, as well as interviews with people who identified themselves as homeless. Semi-structured interviews with homeless people took place between November 2018 and January 2019, and were conducted individually in locations where homeless people receive support in Minsk and in two regional cities in Belarus.