Peru: Renting housing to migrants should not be penalised, say UN experts
22 May 2023
GENEVA (22 May 2023) – UN experts* today expressed serious concern about a law recently amended by Peru's Congress that would make renting housing to migrants without regular migration status punishable by heavy fines.
“Housing is a human right of everyone, regardless of nationality and migration status. No one should be forced into homelessness,” the UN experts said. “Migrants and refugees, like everyone else, must be protected from eviction and have access to housing that allows them to live in dignity.”
Estimates indicate that there are more than 650,000 individuals in Peru without formal residency status. Thousands would be at risk of homelessness if homeowners who provide accommodation were fined.
“Housing a large number of migrants and refugees in Peru is a challenge, but criminalising homeowners who rent out homes and accommodation to undocumented migrants will make the situation even worse,” the experts said.
“The legislature’s decision to punish homeowners who rent out housing and accommodation to undocumented migrants will not only affect hundreds of thousands of migrants, but also thousands of Peruvian families that depend on rental income.”
The experts had raised the issue last year, saying that the legislative reform did not comply with international human rights treaties. “The law is part of a regressive legislative agenda that risks curtailing the rights of migrants and refugees in the country,” they said.
Last week, the Ombudsperson’s Office filed a constitutional complaint, arguing that the new legal provisions do not comply with the State’s human rights obligations.
“We urge the Constitutional Tribunal of Peru to ensure that the right to adequate housing is respected in the country for all, without any discrimination,” the experts said.
* The experts: Mr. Balakrishnan Rajagopal is the Special Rapporteur on the right to adequate housing . He is Professor of Law and Development at the Department of Urban Studies and Planning at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT); Mr. Felipe González Morales is the Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants since 2017. He is a Professor of International Law at the Diego Portales University, in Santiago, Chile, where he is also the Director of a Master in International Human Rights Law.
The Special Rapporteurs are part of what is known as the Special Proceduresof 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.
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