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UN expert on the right to adequate housing launches first official visit to Cabo Verde

GENEVA / PRAIA (14 January 2015) –  United Nations Special Rapporteur Leilani Farha will visit Cabo Verde from 19 to 26 January 2015 to assess the country’s achievements and challenges in realizing the right to adequate housing and non-discrimination in this context. This is the first time a human rights independent expert from the UN Human Rights Council will visit the country.

“I will pay especial attention to the situation of the most vulnerable and marginalized, including those who are homeless, women, and people living in informal settlements or without adequate access to services,” said the independent expert charged by the Human Rights Council to monitor, report and advise on the realization of the right to adequate housing worldwide.

“I am looking forward to the opportunity to engage with the authorities and civil society of Cabo Verde, to discuss disparities in access and affordability of housing in urban and rural areas, and how the right to housing is implemented,” she noted. 

The human rights expert, who is visiting the country at the invitation of the Cabo Verdean authorities, will meet with representatives from the national Government, as well as with local government officials, civil society and community organizations and residents, on the Islands of Santiago, Sal and São Vicente. She will also meet with representatives of the international community and UN officials.

At the end of her eight-day mission, Ms. Farha will share with the media her preliminary findings at a press conference on 26 January at 15:00 at the United Nations Building in Praia.

The Special Rapporteur will submit a report to a forthcoming session of the UN Human Rights Council, which will include her findings and recommendations to the Government of Cabo Verde.

Leilani Farha (Canada) is the UN Special Rapporteur on adequate housing as a component of the right to an adequate standard of living, and on the right to non-discrimination in this context. She took her function in June 2014. Ms. Farha is the Executive Director of the NGO Canada Without Poverty, based in Ottawa, Canada. A lawyer by training, for the past 20 years Ms. Farha has worked both internationally and domestically on the implementation of the right to adequate housing for the most marginalized groups and on the situation of people living in poverty. Learn more, log on to: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Housing/Pages/HousingIndex.aspx

The Special Rapporteurs are part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system, is the general name of the Council’s independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. Special Procedures’ experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent from any government or organization and serve in their individual capacity. For more information check: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/SP/Pages/Welcomepage.aspx

UN Human Rights, country page – Cabo Verde: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Countries/AfricaRegion/Pages/CVIndex.aspx

For more information and media requests, please contact:
In Praia (during the visit):
Juana Sotomayor- Human Rights Officer- OHCHR-(+41 79 109 68 73 / jsotomayor@ohchr.org)
Anita Pinto- Communication Officer UN Resident Coordinator Office CV (+ 238 26096 00 – Cel: (+ 238) 991 45 55/ anita.pinto@one.un.org)

In Geneva (before and after the visit):
Juana Sotomayor (+41 22 917 9445 / jsotomayor@ohchr.org) or write to srhousing@ohchr.org

For media inquiries related to other UN independent experts in Geneva:
Xabier Celaya, UN Human Rights – Media Unit (+ 41 22 917 9383 / xcelaya@ohchr.org)  

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