Depressive Symptoms Among Arab Bedouin Women Whose Houses are Under Threat of Demolition in Southern Israel: A Right to Housing Issue

Housing is a fundamental human right and a social determinant of health. According to international law, indigenous peoples are entitled to special housing and health rights and protections. In Israel, land disputes between the government and Arab Bedouins, an indigenous minority, have resulted in ongoing demolitions of Arab Bedouin homes, with thousands more homes threatened. While demolitions could expose this population to mental health problems, research linking house demolition and health is scarce.   In this paper, we draw on a human rights perspective to describe this housing instability and examine the association between the threat of house demolition and depressive symptoms (DS) among 464 Arab Bedouin women.  We conclude that having their house under threat of demolition is an important determinant of poor mental health among Bedouin women. Any efforts to decrease DS among these women will have to take place alongside efforts to stop this practice.

 
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