Ms. Leilani Farha, former Special Rapporteur on adequate housing (2014-2020)
Ms. Leilani Farha (Canada) served 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, from May 2014 until April 2020.
Ms. Farha is the Executive Director of the NGO Canada Without Poverty, based in Ottawa, Canada. A lawyer by training, Ms. Farha has worked for the past 20 years both internationally and domestically on the implementation of the right to adequate housing for the most marginalized groups.
In Canada Ms. Farha worked on housing rights issues as the Executive Director of the Centre for Equality Rights in Accommodation (CERA). In that capacity, she helped to launch a historic legal challenge seeking the implementation of UN recommendations for addressing homelessness as a violation of human rights. In her current work she continues to promote a human rights-based approach to poverty.
Internationally, Ms. Farha has actively participated in a number of missions around the world to examine the status of housing rights and to assist in developing policy responses for the implementation of these rights. Within the UN human rights system, she helped spearhead the first resolution regarding women and the right to adequate housing. Ms. Farha has also undertaken numerous consultancies related to housing rights. She has appeared before various UN human rights mechanisms to address economic, social and cultural rights issues; and she was a member of the Advisory Group on Forced Evictions for UNHabitat.
Ms. Farha is known as a dynamic and effective advocate for economic, social and cultural rights and for promoting legal protection and access to justice for these rights. She has researched and published widely on issues related to housing rights, including on forced evictions, securing land rights for indigenous peoples, and housing indigenous peoples in cities. As a central dimension in all her activities, she has worked extensively on women’s economic, social and cultural rights, playing a pivotal role in raising awareness about the gender dimensions of these rights. Ms. Farha was also a founding member of the ESCR-Net – an international network of organizations committed to economic, social and cultural rights.