The right to adequate housing is the right to live in peace, security and dignity.
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“Human rights can be transformational...a human rights framework can provide the coherence and consistency sorely needed to achieve sustainable, inclusive cities for all.” (report to the General Assembly)

Human Rights and the New Urban Agenda
In her second report to the UN General Assembly, Leilani called on States to include a human rights framework in the development of the New Urban Agenda, to be adopted at the UN Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development (also known as Habitat III), October 2016 in Quito, Ecuador. 

“Cities are on an untenable path, one that is encouraging vast inequalities which ultimately segregate those who have means from those who do not. Urbanization can too often focus on wealth accumulation at the expense of the most vulnerable populations", Leilani stated in her report.  

She has issued a challenge to States: ensure the centrality of the right to housing in a new "urban rights agenda", and commit to eliminating homelessness as an immediate priority.

Leilani presents her report to the General Assembly on October 22, 2015.
UN Committee Issues First Decision: Right to Housing Upheld
In a precedent-setting decision, the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights issued their first judgement via the Optional-Protocol (OP) which focused on a violation of the right to housing in Spain.
The OP offers access to justice to individuals as part of the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), but it is only available to individuals in countries that have ratified it.
The first “View”  concluded that Spain violated the ICESCR (art. 11.1 and art. 2.1 specifically) and must find “an effective remedy and to ensure that its legislation that regulates foreclosure mortgage proceedings and its application comply with the obligations set forth in the Covenant.”

The case considered housing rights violations as they relate to the process of mortgage forclosures, and adequate notification of eviction and auction of a residence.  

Read more on the ICESCR and the OP on the OHCHR website or to read about an NGO involved in the specific case in Spain, on ESCR-Net.

Help Inform Leilani’s Next Report on Homelessness
Research is underway for Leilani’s next report to the UN Human Rights Council in March 2016 on homelessness. Governments, National Human Rights Institutions, civil society organisations, networks, UN agencies and entities, and others with relevant information are invited to contribute to the report.  Leilani is also interested in any video or visual materials that illustrate homelessness in your region.
Homelessness has emerged as a global human rights crisis even in States where there are adequate resources to address it. It has, however, been largely insulated from human rights accountability and rarely addressed as a human rights violation requiring positive measures to eliminate and to prevent its recurrence. 

The report will explore how homelessness is understood and manifests in diverse social, cultural, economic and even linguistic contexts. Responses to the questionnaire are due by October 28.  Questionnaires are available in English, Spanish and French.

Recent Presentations
Sept 2-4: Video presentation, “Asia-Pacific Housing Forum 5: Building Impact”, Hong Kong, hosted by Habitat for Humanity

Sept 29: Video presentationBehind Closed Doors: Global Seminar on the Human Rights of Migrant Domestic Workers", Bangkok, Thailand hosted by the OHCHR as part of the Asia Pacific Forum of National Human Rights Institutions
Sept 30: Panelist, “Right to Housing Forum”, Toronto, Canada hosted by the Advocacy Centre for Tenants Ontario
A clip from Leilani's recent video speech for the OHCHR seminar on migrant domestic workers in Bangkok, Thailand
November 2015: Leilani will be keynote speaker at the 3rd Europe Housing Forum in Berlin, Germany on November 18th, coordinated by Habitat for Humanity. 
April 2016:  Leilani will visit India on her third official country mission as Special Rapporteur in the spring. She will meet with members of government, civil society and individuals who are facing challenges with regards to their right to housing.  She looks forward to the mission and thanks the government of India for the invitation.

This newsletter is published quarterly, and only in English at this time.
Leilani Farha (Chris Roussakis)

Connect with the Special Rapporteur

“Only once housing is understood as a human right, and reflected and implemented as such in policy and law, will we make real and significant change."

Find Leilani on Twitter
@leilanifarha and @adequatehousing, Facebook, and Instagram.
The Miller Family 
Vancouver, BC, Canada

In one of the most unaffordable cities in Canada, space is a hot commodity.

This family of five lives in less than 900 square feet in the downtown core.  But at their doorstep are parks, schools, culture, and activities for the kids. It is a ‘cozy nook’ in their urban environment. 

In July 2015 the average price for a detached single-family home in Vancouver was $1,442,296 CDN - out of reach for a majority of people.

UN reports show over 1.6 million people were displaced, and livelihoods disrupted or destroyed, due to cyclone Komen which struck Myanmar in July/August of this year.  (Photo: UNICEF / Myo Thame)

Refugee crisis poses question about housing

Since the beginning of 2015, UNHCR estimates that almost 600,000 refugees have arrived on European shores by sea, 20% from Syria.  After surviving the perilous journey refugees face a myriad of obstacles including where they will live in their new host country.
The right to adequate housing continues to apply to refugees, economic migrants and those fleeing conflict.  Rights are attached to people, not immigration status.
South African High Court Halts Evictions

A temporary court order used by the City of Durban to unlawfully remove poor people from informal settlements was struck down by the High Court this past August. Seen by activists as an “eviction order in disguise”, the court ruling cites the South African Constitution and protects the right to housing, including offering alternative accommodation when forced from your home. 
World Habitat Day is celebrated the first Monday of October each year?

Established by the UN in 1985, but first celebrated in 1986, World Habitat Day (WHD) offers cities and communities the opportunity to reflect on housing and the right to housing within their boundaries.  

Themes vary each year but the purpose is to promote "adequate shelter for all".  Read Leilani's statement on WHD on her Facebook page.
Copyright © *2015* *Leilani Farha*, All rights reserved.

With content provided by students at the University of Ottawa's Human Rights Clinic, Human Rights Research and Education Centre.

Disclaimer: This newsletter is a project of the Special Rapporteur on the Right to Adequate Housing and it does not express the opinions of the United Nations. Rapporteur: Leilani Farha

The newsletter is only available in English at this time
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