The Bartlett Development Planning Unit


DPU submission to UN Call for Input: Decriminalisation of homelessness and extreme poverty

1 November 2023

Dr Paroj Banerjee recently contributed to a Joint submission to UN Special Rapporteurs on the right to adequate housing and extreme poverty and human rights.

A person sitting on the ground in a tunnel

The purpose of the call was to inform a joint report of the Special Rapporteur on the right to adequate housing and of the Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights on efforts made to decriminalize offences frequently associated with homelessness and poverty, such as street vending, begging, staying, sleeping, eating or undertaking any other life-sustaining activities in public spaces.

With a wide range of submissions and research from over 25 countries, 43 NGO’s, 10 human rights institutions and academia from all over the world, the objectives are to have clearer insight into laws and regulations that criminalize poverty and homelessness. Such sanctions do not only raise human rights concerns; they also congest the criminal justice system with issues that should be better addressed by other measures and policies tackling the root causes of homelessness or poverty.

Dr Paroj Banerjee is an urban ethnographer researching, teaching, and writing about urban inhabitation, trajectories of structural injustice, non-dominant experiences of home, counter-responses to dispossession and spatial precarity, and myriad registers of urban citizenship. Her scholarship advances theorisations of exclusion produced through urban developmental and planning interventions. She is currently co-directing the MSc Development Planning and Administration Programme at the Bartlett Development Planning Unit, and leads in several enabling functions. Her contribution towards scholarship, pedagogy and practice can be summarised through publications in high-ranking peer-reviewed journals such as Antipode and Urban History, collaborative and transnational research activities, contribution towards shaping disciplinary fields through editorial international journals, interventions in high-level policy forums, knowledge dissemination and exchange activities, teaching and supervision, academic services, public engagement and positions in international development.

Dr Paroj Banerjee said:

In today’s context it is even more crucial that we shaped our research, teaching and public roles in the university through reflective and collaborative practice. This report submitted with a collaborator, Consortium for Street Children, was a great opportunity to learn about how different approaches are being applied to address questions around adequate housing, extreme poverty and human rights. For me this was first-hand experience in making my research relevant to high level policy change.

Read the joint submission