Comments on legislation, policy and standards

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 developing standards or reports. Sometimes they may be send through the communications procedure or as stand-alone submissions, or press statements. Such comments may as well be sent to private actors, such as business corporations. Below are some recent interventions.

Communications

Communications sent by the Special Rapporteur on the right to adequate housing and replies received by States and other entities are published 60 days after they have been sent. Sometimes these communications relate to legislation and policies.

You can access these communications through the online communications database. Communications sent to non-State entities can be accessed by setting the State/Entity filter to “Other actors”. Allegation letters are identified with (AL), urgent appeal with (UA), and other communications with (OTH). Several communications are addressed jointly with other Special procedure mandates, and are therefore joint communications, identified with as JAL or JUA.

Amicus Briefs, Open Letters and Communications

Canada
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)
PDF: English     
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

France
Concerns expressed related to draft law No. 714 on management of immigration and an effective right to asylum (3 July 2019).
PDF: Français  
Reply from 3 July 2019

Guatemala
Amicus Brief on Laguna Large case – forced eviction of community of about 450 persons - submitted to the Constitute Court of Guatemala (2017)
PDF: English | Español

Hungary
Amicus Curiae submitted to the Constitutional Court of Hungary (11 December 2018)
PDF: 1-2-3

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)
PDF: English         
Reply from 17 August 2018

India
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)
PDF: English

Myanmar
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)
PDF: English

Portugal
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

Russian Federation
Concerned 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)
PDF: English      
Reply from 07 Oct 2020 | Reply from 09 Nov 2020

Non-State actors and Businesses

Akelius Residential AB
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)
PDF: English     
Press release from 29 April 2020

Blackstone Group
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)
PDF: English    
Reply from 25 March 2019 in English

World Bank
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)
Report A/HRC/22/46/Add.3

Submissions to UN 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). 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:

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.