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Special Rapporteur on the right to adequate housing


Amicus brief to the US Supreme Court concerning the criminalization of persons experiencing homelessness, City of Grants Pass v. Johnson, case 23-175.The matter raises the question whether municipalities should be allowed to penalize persons experiencing homelessness for camping and sleeping in public spaces when they fail to offer any adequate shelter or housing.
Amicus brief, 3 April 2024

Ensuring housing affordability, ending homelessness
Side-event 55th HRC session, 5 March 2024, Room XXV, 13:00 CET
More information
Meeting link

Ending homelessness – Side event – Commission for Social Development
5 February 2024, New York, 13:15 EST
More information
Follow the event on UN TV

Domicide: The Mass Destruction of Homes should be a Crime Against Humanity Opinion of the Special Rapporteur
29 January 2024, New York Times


Reply from the ICC Prosecutor regarding the Situation in the State of Palestine
26 April 2023

32 UN experts issue a joint letter to the ICC Prosecutor regarding the Situation in the State of Palestine and Annex
23 March 2023

Realizing the right to housing in the climate crisis
Hybrid side-event, 9 March 2023, 14:00 CET

Enshrining the right to housing in a Constitution: The case of California
12 January 2023


The Case for the international crime of domicide
28 October 2022

Recognizing domicide as an international crime”
Statement to the GA, 28 October 2022

Ending impunity for severe housing rights violations – Should domicide be recognized as an international crime?
GA77 Side-event, 27 October 2022, 13:15 EST (New York)

Regional consultation – CSOs in the Americas
29 August 2022, 16:00 CEST (Geneva)

Regional consultation – CSOs in Africa, Europe and MENA
26 August 2022, 15:00 CEST (Geneva)

Regional consultation – CSOs in Asia-Pacific
5 August 2022, 14:00 CEST (Geneva)

Racism and racial discrimination in the context of housing
Virtual side-event
18 March 2022; 14:00 CET


Social Housing in Ukraine
Key note address, 8 October 2021

UNECE Ministerial Meeting on Housing and Land
Key note address, 6 October 2021

EU must treat homeless as rights-holders, not criminals
Op-ed in the EU Observer
16 June 2021

Consultation with local and regional governments
14 May 2021, 15:00 CEST (Geneva)

Access to Justice for Housing Discrimination
Consultation with judges, lawyers, human rights institutions and non-discrimination bodies
7 May 2021, 15:00 CEST (Geneva)

Consultation with States and relevant Ministries
30 April 2021, 15:00 CEST (Geneva)

Representatives can register with Mr. Pascal Garde, [email protected], indicating their function and the public institution they represent.


Statement against domestic violence during COVID-19
19 November 2020

Op-ed with the Executive Director of UN-Habitat
30 October 2020

Consultation with CSOs: Housing discrimination and spatial segregation
12 April 2020: 15:00 CET

Statement against domestic violence during COVID-19
19 November 2020

Op-ed with the Executive Director of UN-Habitat
30 October 2020

Op-ed in the Washington Post
7 May 2020

Op-Ed in the Guardian: How can billions of people 'stay home' to beat Covid-19 without a safe place to live?
29 April 2020

COVID-19 Guidance Notes
28 April 2020


Communication on Canada national housing strategy
22 June 2018

Open Letter to Hungary on criminalization of homeless people
20 June 2018

Working with treaty bodies

The Special Rapporteur is mandated to work in close cooperation with relevant United Nations treaty bodies in the promotion of the full realization of the right to adequate housing (resolutions 15/08 and 34/9). Former Special Rapporteur Ms. Farha took this aspect of her mandate to heart, and directly contributed to various processes initiated by treaty bodies. Synergy between human rights mechanisms and greater interaction are key to enhancing protection and ensuring implementation of human rights norms and standards as related to the rights to adequate housing and to non-discrimination in this context.

This page presents some of the written contributions and information of the Special Rapporteur:

Human Rights Committee

  • Elaboration of General Comment N. 36, on article 6 of the ICCPR

The Special Rapporteur welcomes the work of the Human Rights Committee in preparation of its general comment No. 36 on article 6 (right to life) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and the ensuing second draft prepared by the Rapporteur, that has been shared publicly for comments and contributions (as adopted on First Reading during the 120th session).

The Special Rapporteur has provided comments and contributions in two occasions. First, a submission to the Committee (dated 8 July 2016) which was also discussed in an informal meeting with some members of the Committee (11 July 2016). This submission was made in keeping with her report on the right to life and the right to housing presented to the General Assembly, 71st session (A/71/310).

Second, on 6 October 2017, she has also provided comments and suggested language for a number of the paragraphs to the second draft (as adopted on First Reading during the 120th session) prepared by the Rapporteur and shared publicly for comments and contributions. See these comments here.

Third, on 9 November 2017, the Special Rapporteur held an informal meeting with some members of the Committee to present her views and comments.

Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights

  • Third Party Intervention: Communication 5/2015 – MDB et al. v. Spain

The Special Rapporteur is the first ever special procedure mandate holder to present a third party intervention to a Treaty Body mechanism considering a specific petition. In a letter dated 25 October 2016 the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights accepted the request by the Special Rapporteur on adequate housing to provide a third-party submission in relation to Communication 5/2015, under the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. The Committee invited the Special Rapporteur to do so with a focus on the following issues:

  • State obligations to prevent and respond to homelessness, including human rights obligations of sub-national governments;
  • Security of tenure as a requirement following from the right to adequate housing; and
  • Forced evictions and protecting the right to adequate housing in the context of austerity measures.

Without taking a position on the authors’ allegations, the Special Rapporteur addressed important questions regarding the nature and scope of State obligations with respect to the right to adequate housing. Read her submission here, and also a non-official translation in Español here.

The Committee’s decision was reached on July 2017. See it in Español, Français and English here.

Committee on the Rights of Children

  • Elaboration of general comment No. 21 (2017) on children in street situations

The Special Rapporteur had the opportunity to join the Committee in a consultation held on 14 January 2016 via skype, and based on her thematic report on homelessness (at the time still not public and scheduled for presentation at the 31st session of the Human Rights Council (A/HRC/31/54). In addition, the Special Rapporteur offered a summary of her comments based on a zero draft dated 10 December 2015 as kindly shared for her consideration prior to the consultation.