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Right to housing: UN expert launches first fact-finding visit to Chile

GENEVA / SANTIAGO (18 April 2017) – United Nations human rights expert Leilani Farha will carry out a visit to Chile from 20 to 28 April to assess the current housing situation in the country, focusing on both achievements and challenges in the realization of the right to adequate housing without discrimination. 

“My chief aim will be to assess whether the housing conditions of those living in informal settlements, subsidized housing, and rental accommodation are consistent with international human rights norms,” said the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to adequate housing.  

“I am most concerned that vulnerable populations enjoy the right to adequate housing. In this regard, I will be focusing on the housing conditions and needs of indigenous peoples, people living in poverty, as well as emerging disadvantaged groups such as migrants, refugees and asylum seekers,” she noted.  

The expert will also address issues related to gentrification and financialization, and their impact on the affordability of land and housing for the poorest segments of society, notably women heads of households. 

Because the right to adequate housing is most often implemented through policies and programmes, during her eight-day visit, Ms. Farha will gather information and testimonies on how different policy measures and mechanisms –notably subsidies – have played a role in ensuring access and availability of housing for different sectors of society.  

“I have heard that for some time, most people in Chile, regardless of their socio-economic status, could access housing. I want to learn more about the programmes that made that possible, and whether they are still effective” she underlined. 

The expert, who visits Chile at the invitation of the Government, will meet official representatives at the national and subnational level, as well as local authorities. She will also hold meetings with civil society and community organizations, and with academics. She will visit Santiago, Valparaiso, Viña del Mar, Temuco and Antofagasta.  

On Friday 28 April at 12:00, at the end of her visit, the Special Rapporteur will hold a press conference at the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (CEPAL/ECLAC), Celso Furtado Conference Room, to share with the media her preliminary observations and recommendations. Access to the press conference is strictly limited to journalists. Interpretation (English-Spanish) will be available. 

Ms. Farha will submit a full report of her findings and recommendations to the Human Rights Council in March 2018. 

Ms. 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 up her mandate 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:  

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 and media requests, please contact: 

In Chile (during the visit): Juana Sotomayor, Human Rights Officer/ OHCHR, at +56 9 42036787- local- or +41 79 444 4078 / jsotomayor@ohchr.org) and María Jeannette Moya: +56 2 2210 2977 / mmoya@ohchr.org)
In Geneva (before and after the visit): Juana Sotomayor (+41 22 917 9445 / jsotomayor@ohchr.org) or write to srhousing@ohchr.org

UN Human Rights, Country Page: Chile

OHCHR Regional Office, Chile  

For media inquiries related to other UN independent experts: 

Xabier Celaya, UN Human Rights – Media Unit (+ 41 22 917 9383 / xcelaya@ohchr.org)  

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