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25 October 2016, New York – European Union Intervention United Nations General Assembly 71st Session Third Committee Interactive Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the right to adequate housing as a component of the right to an adequate standard of living, Ms. Leilani Farha

Madam Chair,

We would like to thank the Special Rapporteur on the right to adequate housing as a component of the right to an adequate standard of living, Ms. Leilani Farha, for her report and the presentation today.

Madam Special Rapporteur,

We are committed to addressing homelessness and grossly inadequate housing and the progressive realisation of the right to an adequate standard of living, including housing.

Your report comes in the year we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the adoption of both covenants that co-shaped the international human rights framework. In your report you argue that the separation of rights into two Covenants led to a predominantly economic understanding of the right to an adequate standard of living and thus a division from the right to life. You argue that this prevents a full understanding of both rights

The impact of inadequate housing and homelessness is detrimental to the fulfilment of universal human rights , especially for the most vulnerable populations: homeless people, especially children, people with disabilities, migrants, refugees and IDPs, people affected by natural disasters and in post-conflict situations, people in informal settings, victims of domestic violence etc.

In your report you observe a distinct contrast between understanding and describing deprivation of the right to housing between the rights’ holders and government officials. Habitat III conference and the New Urban Agenda could further contribute to bridge this contrast, yet you note in your report the failure of Habitat III to identify systemic violations of the right to life and the right to adequate housing. Can you elaborate on this?

In your report you also touch upon the work of human rights treaty bodies in this respect. Among others you refer to the Human Rights Committee draft General Comment No. 36 and its bifurcated nature, dividing the right to life into two categories: justifiable rights and unenforceable policy aspirations. Could you elaborate on the implications, as you see them, of such a division on the right to adequate housing?

I thank you.

  • Ref: EUUN16-155EN
  • EU source: European Union
  • UN forum: Third Committee - Social, Humanitarian and Cultural Committee
  • Date: 25/10/2016

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