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Special Rapporteur on Adequate Housing assesses impact of "Mega Events" on right to housing

Olympic Games/World Cup: 1 – Right to Housing: 0

GENEVA – The UN Special Rapporteur on adequate housing, Raquel Rolnik, will share with the press her report on the impact of “mega-events” in the realization of the right to adequate housing on Monday 8 March at a press conference at the UN Headquarters in Geneva.

The study provides an analysis of the positive and negative legacy of hosting the Olympic Games and the FIFA Football World Cup, some insights on the practices and procedures of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and FIFA, and recommendations addressed to governments, the IOC and FIFA.

Although some positive legacies can be seen in the housing sector as a result of these events, Ms. Rolnik states that the negative legacies are disquieting. “I am particularly concerned about the practice of forced evictions, criminalization of homeless persons and informal activities, and the dismantling of informal settlements in the context of mega-events.”

“It is also alarming some indirect consequences such as escalating rent and property houses, lack of affordability for the low-income population, reduction in the availability of social and low-cost housing, and disproportionate impact in vulnerable groups,” notes the independent expert, who is mandated by the Human Rights Council to monitor adequate housing as a component of the right to an adequate standard of living, and on the right to non-discrimination in this context.

The Special Rapporteur urges all relevant parties to assume a responsible attitude concerning the impact of the Olympic Games, World Football Cup and similar events on the right to adequate housing. The IOC had started to integrate the impact on housing rights in the city questionnaire in the bidding phase for 2016 Olympic Games. National and local authorities must adopt all the necessary measures to respect, protect and fulfill the right to adequate housing in the context of mega-events.

With respect to the IOC and FIFA, she advises them to “evaluate the bid candidatures against compliance with international standards on the right to adequate housing and to guarantee that only those in conformity with those standards are selected.”

Note to Geneva-based correspondents: the press conference will be held on Monday 8 March 2010, at 1400, Room I, Palais des Nations, Geneva.

(*) Full report by the Special Rapporteur on housing: http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/hrcouncil/docs/13session/A-HRC-13-20.pdf

Raquel Rolnik (Brazil) was appointed as 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 by the United Nations Human Rights Council, in May 2008. As Special Rapporteur, she is independent from any government or organization and serves in her individual capacity. An architect and urban planner, Rolnik has extensive experience in the area of housing and urban policies.

Learn more about the mandate and work of the Special Rapporteur on adequate housing: http://www2.ohchr.org/english/issues/housing/index.htm

For inquiries and media requests, please contact Brenda Vukovic (Tel: +41 22 917 9329 / e-mail: bvukovic@ohchr.org) or Beatrice Quadranti (Tel: +41 22 917 9615 / e-mail: bquadranti@ohchr.org) or write to srhousing@ohchr.org

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For use of the information media; not an official record