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HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL HOLDS SEPARATE INTERACTIVE DIALOGUES ON THE RIGHT TO PRIVACY AND THE RIGHT TO ADEQUATE HOUSING

Concludes Interactive Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms while Countering Terrorism
5 March 2020

The Human Rights Council this morning held separate interactive dialogues with the Special Rapporteur on the right to privacy, Joseph Cannataci, and the Special Rapporteur on adequate housing, Leilani Farha. It also concluded its interactive dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism, Fionnuala Ní Aoláin.

Presenting his thematic report, Mr. Cannataci, reminded that his mandate was required to integrate gender in all its activities, which it had achieved across most thematic taskforces and meetings. Turning to concrete recommendations for gender equality in the right to privacy, the Special Rapporteur reminded that everyone, irrespective of their biological sex, sex characteristics, sexual orientation or gender identity and expression, was entitled to the full enjoyment of the right to privacy. He said establishing clear international directions on how to protect against gender-based privacy infringements would help prevent the ongoing harms experienced by many individuals and communities around the world.

In the discussion on the right to privacy, speakers agreed that the right to privacy was vital for the realization and enjoyment of many other rights, including the right to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly, as well as the right to equal treatment and non-discrimination. Some speakers expressed serious concern that the report reflected a new pattern under which the United Nations mandate holders were introducing controversial concepts, which lacked consensus among Member States and did not have any legality under international human rights law. Others said that a lopsided focus undermined the inclusive character of the Human Rights Council, and risked fomenting divisions and shrinking space for genuine dialogue and cooperation. Furthermore, speakers noted that States must develop legal protection measures with respect to accessing private data. A major issue was adopting at the international level a universal code of conduct for States in the digital space, in line with the United Nations Charter.

Speaking were Pakistan (on behalf of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation), Latvia (on behalf of a group of countries), European Union, Brazil (on behalf of a group of countries), Germany, Iraq, France, Philippines, Ecuador, Burkina Faso, Egypt, Greece, Russian Federation, Republic of Korea, Spain, Iran, Venezuela, Indonesia, Malta, China, United Kingdom, Armenia, Barbados, Austria and Sudan.

Also taking the floor were the following civil society representatives : Sikh Human Rights Group, iuventum E.v., International Commission of Jurists, Association for Progressive Communications, International Human Rights Internship Programme, International Muslim Women’s Union, Americans for Democracy and Human Rights in Bahrain, Liberation, China Society for Human Rights Studies, and Association Adala Justice.

The Council then held an interactive dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on adequate housing, Leilani Farha.
Ms. Farha presented reports on her country visits to France and Nigeria, as well as the report on the guidelines for the implementation of the right to adequate housing. Turning to the guidelines for the implementation of the right to housing, Ms. Farha alerted the Human Rights Council that the global housing crisis continued to escalate. More than 1.8 billion people worldwide lived in grossly inadequate housing and homelessness.

France and Nigeria spoke as concerned countries. The French National Advisory Commission for Human Rights also took the floor.

In the discussion on the right to adequate housing, speakers noted that it was deeply worrying that more than 1.8 billion people worldwide still lacked adequate housing. Every year, as a result of inadequate housing and homelessness, people froze to death, caught avoidable diseases, and suffered from a lack of physical integrity and privacy. Since the right to housing was often violated because of discrimination, exclusion and inequality, it was important that vulnerable persons be actively involved in developing and determining housing programmes. That would ensure that their needs were taken into account. In addition, speakers drew attention to the particularly adverse impacts of inadequate housing for women and girls, and the vulnerabilities that migrants and internally displaced persons faced. They also reminded that an estimated 20 million people lost their homes every year because of climate change and natural disasters, which caused the exodus of rural populations to cities, thus exacerbating the problem of slums.

Speaking in the interactive dialogue were : Burkina Faso on behalf of the African Group, European Union, Ecuador on behalf of a group of countries, Germany, State of Palestine, Holy See, Djibouti, Iraq, Barbados, Pakistan, India, Ecuador, Namibia, Portugal, Tunisia, El Salvador, Croatia and Azerbaijan.

At the beginning of the meeting, the Council concluded its interactive dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights while countering terrorism, Fionnuala Ní Aoláin. A summary of the first part of the discussion, held on Wednesday, 4 March, can be read here.

In the ensuing discussion on human rights and counter terrorism, speakers noted that the scourge of terrorism remained one of the most serious threats to global stability and international peace. They extended full support to the Secretary-General’s strategy to combat hate speech which fuelled terrorism. States informed the Human Rights Council about necessary actions they were carrying out to prevent and combat terrorism, including de-radicalization and the protection of the rights of victims of terrorism and their families. Throughout the world, young and vulnerable people fell victim to terrorism and extremist content online, they reminded, adding that advances in technology and social media left no country spared. Speakers called on States to join the Christchurch Call to Action, an initiative spearheaded by New Zealand and France that aimed at eliminating terrorist threats online. In conclusion, they noted that the use of broad definitions of terrorism and violent extremism posed many challenges and that this had to be addressed.

Speaking in the interactive dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights while countering terrorism were : Algeria, Nigeria, Indonesia, Maldives, Senegal, China, Georgia, Belgium, United Kingdom, Niger, Cameroon, Armenia, Chad, Bahrain, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, and Iraq.

Also taking the floor were the following civil society organizations : Friends World Committee for Consultation, International Service for Human Rights, Right Livelihood Award Foundation, Sikh Human Rights Group, Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies, International Commission of Jurists, Article 19 – International Centre Against Censorship, Rencontre Africaine pour la defense des droits de l’homme, Human Rights Watch, Maat for Peace, Development and Human Rights Association, and International Bar Association.

The meetings of the forty-third regular session of the Human Rights Council can be followed on the webcast of UN Web TV

The Council will meet again today at 3 p.m. when it will conclude its interactive dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on adequate housing. It will then hear the presentation of thematic reports by the High Commissioner and the Secretary-General, as well as of the report of the open-ended intergovernmental working group on transnational corporations and other business enterprises with respect to human rights, followed by a general debate on the promotion and protection of all human rights, civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights, including the right to development.

Interactive Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms while Countering Terrorism

The interactive dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism, Fionnuala Ní Aoláin, started on Wednesday, 4 March, and a summary can be found here.

Discussion with the Special Rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms while Countering Terrorism

Speakers noted that the scourge of terrorism remained one of the most serious threats to global stability and to international peace. Full support was extended to the Secretary-General’s strategy to combat hate speech which fuelled terrorism. Speakers reiterated their call for renewed efforts and collaboration among States, with a view to fully defeating terrorism. Countries informed the Council about necessary actions they were carrying out to prevent and combat terrorism, including deradicalization and protection of rights of victims of terrorism and their families. Throughout the world, young and vulnerable people fell victim to terrorist and extremist content online. Advances in technology and social media meant no country had been spared. Online platforms were often used for the dissemination of hate propaganda and the promotion of violent ideologies leading to radicalization. States were urged to join the Christchurch Call to Action, an initiative spearheaded by New Zealand and France that aimed to eliminate terrorist threats online. The use of broad definitions of terms such as terrorism and violent extremism posed many challenges that had to be addressed. Policy measures aimed at countering and preventing terrorism and violent extremism had to fully respect the principles of legality, proportionality, necessity and non-discrimination as well as all human rights and fundamental freedoms. States also had to respect the principle of the presumption of innocence and the right to a fair trial and due process, ensure the absolute prohibition of torture and ill-treatment, and protect against arbitrary detention and unlawful deprivation of the right to life.

Ensuring trust in governments and addressing State accountability, justice and good governance was a vital part of a successful strategy in this field. Speakers said that the report raised concern about legislation that criminalized extremist thought and that enabled the widespread use of arbitrary detention and “re-education” as a method of preventing extremism. Freedom of expression in school settings had to be preserved. Primary prevention strategies, according to the work of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, included policies for inclusion and diversity, promoted pedagogies that strengthened resilience, and ensured safe and supportive school environments. States also reiterated that the prohibition of torture was absolute and should not be sacrificed in the name of national security or the fight against terrorism. The Rapporteur was asked about the best approach to address returning children of foreign terrorist fighters to help them integrate. What were the best practices on countering violent extremism that could be used with the definition of violent extremism and parameters of international humanitarian law. Were there examples where civil society had helped to positively share policy on preventing violent extremism? What solutions were envisaged in conflict and fragile regions where countries lacked the resources to secure their borders in the fight against trans-border terrorism, as well as in the context of trafficking in drugs and illicit trade in small arms and light weapons? What were the Special Rapporteur’s thoughts on providing a specific space for the rehabilitation of victims of terrorism?

Concluding Remarks by the Special Rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms while Countering Terrorism

FIONNUALA NÍ AOLÁIN, Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism, noted the fact that many countries and other stakeholders had acknowledged victims of terrorism, as well as views that violent extremism and terrorism were not the product of any one region or religion. As for the instrumentalization of women and girls, those in fragile contexts were at the frontline of violence. In that respect, the Special Rapporteur noted the commitment to gender approaches articulated in national action plans. Turning to reservations expressed with respect to the definitions of terrorism and violent extremism, she stressed that any definition must be necessary, proportionate, precise and non-discriminatory. She affirmed the important work of many countries on safeguarding the civic space for human rights defenders in the context of counter-terrorism.

Interactive Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the Right to Privacy

Documentation

The Council has before it the Report of the Special Rapporteur on the right to privacy (A/HRC/43/52). The unedited advance version can be found here : A/HRC/43/52

Presentation of Report by the Special Rapporteur on the Right to Privacy

JOSEPH CANNATACI, Special Rapporteur on the right to privacy, reminded that his mandate was required to integrate gender in all its activities. That had been achieved across most thematic taskforces and meetings, and the mandate had provided input also on privacy and gender to the events of the United Nations Development Programme in June and October 2019, and to international fora. Turning to concrete recommendations for gender equality in the right to privacy, the Special Rapporteur reminded that everyone, irrespective of their biological sex, sex characteristics, sexual orientation or gender identity and expression, was entitled to the full enjoyment of the right to privacy. For some, their gender entailed a particular reliance upon State and non-State actors to facilitate access to their right to privacy, and to protect them from infringements. Those infringements discriminated against people and communities on the basis of their gender. Establishing clear international directions on how to protect against gender-based privacy infringements would help prevent the ongoing harms experienced by many individuals and communities around the world. Privacy was not a luxury to be enjoyed by some, the Special Rapporteur emphasized. It was essential for all. He thus invited all Member States to work to achieve gender equality to the right to privacy, and to offer his mandate’s assistance to those countries that wished to do more in that area.

Turning to the issue of children and privacy, Mr. Cannataci reminded that he had addressed the Committee on the Rights of the Child in January 2020. He had also carried out official country visits to Argentina and the Republic of Korea. He would share his reports on those visits with the concerned States in the coming months. As for the issue of security and surveillance, the Special Rapporteur said that in October 2019 he had held a highly successful fourth forum of the International Intelligence Oversight Forum in the United Kingdom, drawing more than 160 participants. In addition, his mandate had also dealt with individual cases of Julian Assange and the President of Ecuador Lenin Moreno. In September 2019, the Special Rapporteur had held a meeting of the Taskforce on the Use of Personal Data by Corporations in Brussels. In conclusion, Mr. Cannataci said that he would work on a new initiative on prisoners and privacy.

Discussion with the Special Rapporteur on the Right to Privacy

Some speakers expressed serious concern that the report reflected a new pattern under which the United Nations mandate holders were introducing controversial concepts, which lacked consensus among Member States and did not have any legality under international human rights law. Others said that a lopsided focus undermined the inclusive character of the Human Rights Council, and it risked fomenting divisions and shrinking space for genuine dialogue and cooperation. United Nations mandate holders were urged to fully take into consideration the diverse perspective of all Member States, and to avoid selectivity in carrying out their mandated work. Some speakers suggested that the Special Rapporteur pay more attention to the issues of mass surveillance and data collection, noting that digital spying had become a common habit. States must develop legal protection measures with respect to accessing private data. A major issue was adopting at the international level a universal code of conduct for States in the digital space, in line with the United Nations Charter. Speakers added that it was regrettable that privacy in some instances had been used to justify non-cooperation and non-sharing of data, resulting in the undermining of domestic accountability mechanisms. Accordingly, they asked the Special Rapporteur to cite good practices to ensure that data privacy protection did not impinge on accountability processes.

Speakers agreed that the right to privacy was vital for the realization and enjoyment of many other rights, including the rights to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly, as well as the rights to equal treatment and non-discrimination. Thanking the Special Rapporteur for his focus on gender-based privacy infringements, speakers noted that his report could affect a number of actors, including human rights defenders, and areas such as healthcare or online digital platforms. They agreed that gender-based breaches of privacy were a systemic form of denial of human rights. Hence the prevention, penalization and prosecution of gender-based privacy infringements and the provision of remedies for victims were essential. Speakers asked the Special Rapporteur about the role of the Human Rights Council in addressing the recommendations set out in his report. Referring to the Secretary-General’s warning that new technologies were being abused to violate the rights of those in vulnerable groups, speakers wondered how the Special Rapporteur planned to work with the office of the United Nations Secretary-General in order to engage diverse stakeholders, including the tech community and businesses.

Interim Remarks by the Special Rapporteur on the Right to Privacy

JOSEPH CANNATACI, Special Rapporteur on the right to privacy, noted that States should have a focus on education policy from a very early age. They could join some of the existing foci on gender and privacy and link it with the work on children. An education policy from the age of five or seven would help children to identify online risks and who was controlling and manipulating the information they were receiving. Cuba had highlighted the issue of surveillance, and the Special Rapporteur said his mandate invested a lot of effort in surveillance and oversight, including what remedies could be found. As for the comment by the Russian Federation, there was no need to be perplexed, because gender was explicitly part of the mandate, which was why it had to be included in the thematic report. Mr. Cannataci was very sensitive to religious issues and he came from a religious country, but it needed to adjust to everybody’s rights and not just to those of believers.

Discussion with the Special Rapporteur on the Right to Privacy

Speakers noted that great care was needed to achieve a balance between private and public norms and rights. Some welcomed that the report examined the gendered nature of certain privacy infringements. They condemned the abuse of new information and communication technologies that were breaching the right of privacy. The growth of digital technology came with new challenges, as the use of new technologies could harmfully disrupt society and endanger the right to privacy. Thus, digital literacy programmes were carried out to raise awareness among the public. The right to privacy created a safe space online and offline and allowed people to enjoy other rights, including freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly. Advances in information technology had dramatically improved communication and information sharing and allowed actors such as human rights defenders to have their voices amplified when exposing abuses. Regretfully, as noted in the report, defenders and vulnerable groups continued to suffer gender-based privacy infringements. Gender breaches of privacy needed to be penalized and prosecuted as they constituted a systemic form of denial of human rights. Some speakers noted that important guidance was provided in the report on gender identity. Others said that the criminalization of consensual same sex relations was endangering international human rights law, including the right to privacy. Negative impacts of cyber surveillance of the general public by States were highlighted and the importance of encryption was stressed.

Actors, including the Committee on the Rights of the Child, were encouraged to continue efforts aimed at developing new guidelines to protect children’s privacy, online and offline. Children were particularly susceptible to have their privacy violated by individuals, businesses and others as they operated in an online environment. One hundred and seven countries had enacted legislation to secure the protection of data and privacy of their populations, with mixed results. As legislation was adopted and modified, the right to privacy had to be kept in view and it was important for there to be consent wherever data was being processed. It was important for children and young people to be able to have processors of their data erase personal information that was incorrect or no longer relevant. The Rapporteur was asked to expand on best practices encountered with regard to the reduction of online exploitation and abuse of children and young persons. What more could the Council do to support States in guarding against gender based privacy infringements, including in relation to the possible use of data in a gender-biased way? What could the Council do to enhance the capacity of Member States to maintain the balance between beneficial and harmful aspects of digital technologies? Some speakers urged the Rapporteur to make reference to the Universal Declaration on Bioethics and Human Rights, which was adopted by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, and include concepts such as bioethics in reporting. The Rapporteur was also asked to require States and companies to uphold his recommendations on carrying out gender impact analysis before introducing new products.

Concluding Remarks by the Special Rapporteur on the Right to Privacy

JOSEPH CANNATACI, Special Rapporteur on the right to privacy, concurred that the Internet should be a safe space for privacy, but it was not due to lack of political will, and this had to be regulated. As for best practices, in the Republic of Korea, both non-governmental organizations and the Government assisted victims of cyber bullying and this was considered a very good response. Stories of women suffering from revenge porn and other sexual based incidents were heart-breaking. China was encouraged to engage with the mandate to adopt best practices when it came to remedies to surveillance. When it came to encryption, Mr. Cannataci said that the right to privacy was not an absolute right and encryption was the strongest technical mean that they had to protect it. States were asked to provide additional resources to be able to carry out the work of the mandate.

Interactive Dialogue with the 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

Documentation

The Council has before it the Guidelines for the Implementation of the Right to Adequate Housing - Report of the 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 (A/HRC/43/43).

The Council has before it an addendum to the Report of the 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 – Visit to Nigeria (A/HRC/43/43/Add.1).

The Council has before it an addendum to the Report of the 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 – Visit to France (A/HRC/43/43/Add.2). The advance unedited version can be found here : A/HRC/43/43/Add.2

Presentation of Reports by the 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

LEILANI FARHA, 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, presented reports on her country visits to France and Nigeria, as well as the report on the guidelines for the implementation of the right to adequate housing. The report on her country visit to New Zealand would be presented next year.

Turning to France, the Special Rapporteur said that France had in many ways embraced the right to adequate housing, having adopted a number of ambitious housing laws and policies. It had drastically improved the housing conditions for a great majority of its population. Nevertheless, adequate housing remained out of reach for the most marginalized and vulnerable, casting a shadow on France’s status as a global human rights leader. For example, in metropolitan regions, those who claimed their right to housing in court often must wait for years before accessing a unit even though the country had one of the largest housing stocks in Europe. Although the Government had established a national hotline to allow homeless people to seek immediate assistance, many calls went unanswered. Despite policy efforts, homelessness continued to rise at an alarming rate, the Special Rapporteur stressed. Additionally, it was clear that migrants were often overrepresented in informal settlements and many were subject to repeated forced evictions.

As for Nigeria, the Special Rapporteur noted that despite the considerable economic growth that the country enjoyed, almost 50 per cent of the population lived in extreme poverty. Due to extreme inequality, the country’s wealth only benefited a small minority, and the housing sector was a reflection of that situation. Luxury developments flourished in Lagos and Abuja, but many stood empty while the country had an escalating housing deficit of 22 million. The formal housing sector was unaffordable for most Nigerians, while those living in informal housing lacked the most basic services. To make matters worse, those living in informal settlements faced forced evictions, often conducted with brutality that flouted the rule of law and court decisions.

Turning to the guidelines for the implementation of the right to housing, Ms. Farha alerted the Human Rights Council that the global housing crisis continued to escalate. More than 1.8 billion people worldwide lived in grossly inadequate housing and homelessness. States continued – with impunity – to evict people from their homes, contrary to international human rights law. The present global housing crisis was unlike any before. It was not caused by a decline in resources or an economic downturn, but rather by economic growth and expansion. Investors dominated housing systems in an unprecedented fashion, often divorcing housing from its social function by treating it as a commodity for speculation. Affordable housing units had become prime targets for private equity firms and pension funds looking for undervalued assets in which to park, grow and leverage capital, making housing and land increasingly unaffordable for low-income households. Tinkering around the edges of an unsustainable economic model would not work, Ms. Farha emphasized. The right to housing must be implemented in a manner that changed the way housing was currently conceived, valued, produced and regulated. States should adopt rights-based housing strategies as a starting point. The guidelines provided States with a tool kit of rights-based implementation measures to address familiar issues, as well as issues of urgent concern not always associated with the right to housing.

Statements by Concerned Countries

France, speaking as a concerned country, noted the report and said it had had an opportunity to share their remarks on the report with the Special Rapporteur.

French National Advisory Commission for Human Rights, noted the report with satisfaction. At the legal level, the 2007 law on the right to housing was a milestone but it had run into numerous difficulties in implementation. Tens of thousands of priority families still had to wait for years and some were even evicted although the law that was supposed to protect them. In 2018, the Government had adopted a new programme, but 4 million people still lived in unacceptable conditions. Social housing was delegated to organizations who suffered financial problems. Emergency housing faced reoccurring problems, the hotline was saturated, and the use of hotel rooms posed a real problem. The French Government was called on to build its housing policy, making social housing accessible to the poorest and resolving the problems of the poorest persons as soon as possible in line with the law.

Nigeria, speaking as a concerned country, welcomed the report with some elements of reservation. The tone of the report showed that the Rapporteur did not fully consider the renewed political will of the Government to install a well-functioning urban system aimed at creating jobs, reducing poverty, and enhancing cross-sectoral prosperity. The Government and sub-national authorities recognized that the lack of adequate housing delayed national development. Homelessness was a security threat. In addressing challenges, the delegation said that the national housing policy had been approved, targeting the construction of one million houses annually. One of the challenges to the actualization of sustainable human settlements in Nigeria was how to provide adequate shelter for citizens in the face of the ever-increasing population. In response, the Federal Government had created an enabling environment for multi-sectoral intervention. The Government had also worked closely with UN Habitat.

Discussion with the 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

Speakers noted that it was deeply worrying that more than 1.8 billion people worldwide still lacked adequate housing. Every year, as a result of inadequate housing and homelessness, people froze to death, caught avoidable diseases, and suffered from a lack of physical integrity and privacy. Since the right to housing was often violated because of discrimination, exclusion and inequality, it was important that vulnerable persons be actively involved in developing and determining housing programmes. That would ensure that their needs were taken into account. In addition, speakers drew attention to the particularly adverse impacts of inadequate housing for women and girls, and the vulnerabilities that migrants and internally displaced persons faced. They also reminded that an estimated 20 million people a year lost their homes because of climate change and natural disasters, which caused the exodus of rural populations to cities, thus exacerbating the problem of slums. Speakers thus asked the Special Rapporteur how countries could address climate change while taking into account the right to housing and work with affected communities.

One speaker noted that in order to ensure gender equality and the empowerment of women from disadvantaged social groups, schemes with a mandatory provision for the female head of the family to be the owner or co-owner of the house had been developed. They had also offered affordable housing through a credit-linked subsidy scheme. Generally, speakers agreed with the Special Rapporteur that in some countries the right to adequate housing did not enjoy explicit constitutional or legislative recognition. While commending the Special Rapporteur and her team for a well done job, certain speakers reminded that not all countries were at the same level of development. It therefore may be unreasonable to require States to swiftly realize the right to housing for all. That right must be progressively realized, taking into account the resources available to the State. Speakers stressed that housing would never be adequate if it was so expensive that it undermined other human rights.

Interim Remarks by the 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

LEILANI FARHA, 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, regretted that France did not engage in a constructive interactive dialogue, which was envisaged by this session. The Rapporteur said that she expressed constructive criticism. The right to housing went far beyond providing a roof or even providing a law. It meant providing a series of measures and also being treated with dignity. She noted that every Government official in Nigeria during her visit seemed genuinely concerned with the housing situation. However, was it realistic to provide one million houses annually, and was it even most effective? Fifty per cent of population was living in extreme poverty so home ownership schemes would probably not work for that segment of the population. Once the homeless people were recognized as rights owners, they were not seen anymore as beneficiaries of charity but it also made them part of decision making. Climate change did have an effect on the right to housing as low income people were most vulnerable to its impact.


For use of the information media; not an official record


HRC20.015E