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Special Rapporteur on the right to adequate housing
The Special Rapporteur occasionally express her or his views in comment on (draft) legislation, policies or their implementation or may make submissions to national courts or international human rights mechanism. Sometimes such interventions may be send through the communications procedure, as stand-alone submissions, or take the form of a press statement. Such comments may as well be sent to private actors, such as business corporations. Below are some recent interventions.
Open letter the Special Rapporteur on the right to adequate housing clarifying her position that a human rights-based national housing strategy should include making the right to housing part of the domestic legal framework and also ensure access to justice for individuals, through judicial and other mechanism providing an effective remedy. (22 Jun 2018)
Reply from 28 September 2018 | Reply from 10 April 2019
Canada: New rights-focused housing policy shows the way for other countries, says UN expert
Press statement 24 June 2019
Submission of the Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of slavery and the Special Rapporteur on the right to adequate housing from 27 October 2023 to the Court of Justice of the European Union in Case C-417/23 concerning whether amendments to the Danish law on social housing requiring the reduction of immigrants and their descendants from Non-Western countries in so called transformative areas, would amount to direct or indirect discrimination prohibited by international human rights law.
Amicus curiae submission filed on 22 April 2022 with the Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism to the Eastern High Court of Denmark. Case whether the legal distinction between “Westerners” and “non-Westerners” for purposes of housing redevelopment policy—and resulting evictions mandated by that policy constitutes prohibited discrimination in the enjoyment of the right to adequate housing.
Concerns expressed jointly with the Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights related to draft law No. 360 aimed to protect housing against irregular occupation. In the communication the Special Rapporteurs express their concern that the law could lead to the criminalisation of persons in precarious situations, an acceleration of rental eviction procedure and a reduction of procedural safeguards aimed at protecting occupants from homelessness. (30 April 2023)
Open Letter to Hungary on criminalization of homeless people. Concern is expressed on changing Article XXII Section 3 of the Fundamental Law to read, ‘Habitual residence in a public space is forbidden’ (20 June 2018)
Reply from 17 August 2018
Concerns expressed related to the imminent threat of forced eviction of more than 250.000 persons living in 48.000 low-income households along railway tracks in Delhi/India after a ruling of the Indian Supreme Court from 31 August 2020, in which they were not a party and seemed to have been given no opportunity to be heard. The ruling seems to have been issued without any consultation and resettlement plan in place and prevents affected individuals from approaching any court for remedy. (17 September 2020)
Concerns expressed jointly with the Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights in relation to draft law No. 566 aimed at protecting housing against irregular occupation. In the communication, the Special Rapporteurs express their concern that the law could lead to the criminalisation of persons in precarious situations, with the provision of a prison term of between 2 and 7 years, an acceleration of the eviction procedure and a reduction of procedural safeguards aimed at protecting occupants of a dwelling from falling into homelessness. (23 October 2023)
Concerns expressed concerning the concerning the Vacant, Fallow and Virgin Lands Management Law 2012 as amended by the Law Amending the Vacant, Fallow and Virgin Lands Management Law 2018 (Law). (21 January 2019)
On 23 November 2022 the Special Rapporteur on the right to adequate housing and the Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants raised their concern about a draft law that would prohibit home owners renting out housing to migrants without documentation and subject them to fines. The Special Rapporteurs expressed their fear that over 600.000 migrants without documentation living in Peru could potentially be evicted into homelessness in violation of international human rights standards without provision of any alternative housing.
UN expert welcomes new law protecting the right to housing. According to the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to adequate housing the new Basic Housing Law entering into force on 1 October 2019 is a milestone for the implementation of the right to adequate housing. The law implements a key recommendation put forward by the Special Rapporteur after her recent fact-finding visit to Portugal where she urged the adoption of a national housing law reflecting international human rights standards.
Press statement from 1 October 2019
Concern expressed in relation to Law No. 1761-1 on rehabilitation of victims of political repression during the Soviet era in respect of access to adequate housing and their right to a prompt and effective remedy. (11 September 2020)
Reply from 07 Oct 2020 | Reply from 09 Nov 2020
Comments by the Special Rapporteur on the right to adequate housing and the Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty on the draft housing rights law (Proyecto de ley por el derecho a la vivienda) in relation to the justiciability of the right to adequate housing, access to affordable housing and protection against evictions in Spain. (24 January 2023)
Concerns expressed regarding the impact of the business model of real-estate company Akelius on the human rights of tenants in the apartment blocks it owns in Canada, Germany and the United Kingdom. (27 April 2020)
Press release from 29 April 2020
Concern expressed related to invested in housing as security for financial instruments and trading of housing on global markets, which is having devastating consequences on the affordability of housing and displacement of residents. (22 March 2019)
Reply from 25 March 2019 in English
Observations and recommendations on the World Banks safeguard policies, particularly on the right to adequate housing, in the context of its current two-year consultative process to review and update its environmental and social safeguard policies. (15 February 2013)
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). The Special Rapporteur has been directly contributing to various processes initiated by treaty bodies. In her view, 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.
In this page, she presents some of her written contributions and information:
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.
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:
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.
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.