ECONOMIC, SOCIAL AND CULTURAL RIGHTS
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, Miloon Kothari, submitted
in accordance with Commission resolution 2002/21*
* In accordance with paragraph 8, section B, of General Assembly resolution 53/208, the reason for the late submission of this report is the need to reflect the latest information.
This third report of the Special Rapporteur on adequate housing, submitted at a three-year juncture in his mandate, comprehensively reviews his main activities since his appointment in 2000 and outlines emerging issues that require the attention of the Commission and the human rights community worldwide for the realization of rights relevant to his mandate.
1. The mandate of the Special Rapporteur is contained in Commission on Human Rights resolution 2000/9, complemented by resolutions 2001/28 and 2002/21. The present report is submitted in accordance with the latter resolution.
3. The Special Rapporteur undertook a visit to the occupied Palestinian territory (January 2002) and missions to Romania (January 2002) and Mexico (March 2002). Reports of these missions are available as addenda to the present report (E/CN.4/2003/5/Add.1, 2 and 3).
I. PROGRESS TOWARDS THE REALIZATION OF THE RIGHT
TO ADEQUATE HOUSING AND RELATED RIGHTS
A. Global awareness of the right to adequate housing
22. From the Special Rapporteur’s country missions and on-site visits, it is apparent that significant gaps with regard to non-discrimination persist between legal provisions and the local reality. During 2002, he examined the housing situation of minorities in Romania, indigenous peoples in Mexico, and people under occupation in Palestine. From the testimonies received in these and other places, it is evident that multidisciplinary approaches and further research are required to implement housing rights on an equal and non-discriminatory basis. He nonetheless encountered some encouraging good practices during his missions, such as the participation of Roma in relevant decision-making (Romania) and efforts toward regularizing land occupation by indigenous people instead of evicting them (Mexico). He will continue to collect different experiences in ensuring non-discrimination, and to further develop the dialogue with CERD which he initiated in August 2002. He further encourages States to take into account relevant recommendations of treaty bodies, in particular CERD General Recommendation XXVII on discrimination against Roma and General Recommendation XXIX on descent-based discrimination, both of which contain specific recommendations on housing.
II. ACTIONS TO PROMOTE HOUSING RIGHTS
B. Dialogue with States
29. While the Special Rapporteur appreciates their openness and the general cooperation extended to him by concerned Governments on the above cases, he regrets the continuing non-cooperation of Israel with his mandate concerning house demolitions in the occupied Palestinian territory. To date, he has received no substantive responses or information from the Government to the report of his visit to the territories (E/CN.4/2003/5/Add.1). Despite the Commission’s call, Israel has not cooperated with any official missions by him or other special rapporteurs, which effectively prevents them from accessing first-hand information from all relevant parties. This raises concern as to the State party’s commitment to the purpose and principles of the special procedures established by the Commission. It is hoped that the Government of Israel would cooperate with the mandate of all special rapporteurs in future.
30. Meanwhile, the Special Rapporteur has continued to be gravely concerned over the deteriorating housing and living conditions in the occupied Palestinian territory. In August 2002, he briefed the Inter-Agency Standing Committee convened by the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) just prior to the mission of the Personal Humanitarian Envoy of the Secretary-General, Catherine Bertini, to the occupied territories. The Special Rapporteur’s report also contributed to the work of OCHA and UN-Habitat in further assessing the dire situation faced by the Palestinian people undergoing demolitions and continuing threat to their homes. The impact of such demolition and dispossession has taken a particularly heavy toll on Palestinian women and children, on which he briefed the Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) in May 2002. In his future work throughout the world, the Special Rapporteur intends to increase concentration, including through the development of assessment tools, 9 on the material, psychological and social impact on women and children arising from such housing rights violations.
9 See section III.C of this report and the “housing demolition loss matrix” developed in cooperation with the Habitat International Coalition Housing and Land Rights
Network-Middle East/North Africa at http://www.hic-mena.org.