GI-ESCR statement: Interactive Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the right to adequate housing
HRC34 NGO Oral Statement Interactive Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the right to adequate housing
1-2 March 2017
The Global Initiative for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights welcomes the report of the Special Rapporteur on the right to adequate housing, on the financialisation of housing.
This important topic was at the heart of recent crises that have led to devastating violations of the right to adequate housing, such as the 2008 global financial crisis and housing supply and affordability crises, mass forced evictions and displacements, appalling conditions in informal settlements and homelessness.
To address these crises, we need to look at the broader systemic issues which are inhibiting the realization of the right to adequate housing. We need to recognize the significant impact of financial markets and private investors on housing affordability, accessibility, adequacy and availability. In this respect we support the Special Rapporteur’s call for States to reclaim governance and accountability in housing systems.
The Special Rapporteur’s report also reminds us that States need to pay attention to the role of business actors in relation to the right to adequate housing. This discussion has typically focused on real estate agents and private lessors, but we need to look more broadly to how private financiers and investors are impacting the right to adequate housing and extend the conversation on business and human rights to consideration of these issues.
The report also highlights the dehumanizing impact of the financialization of housing and how it leads to increased inequality and exclusion of the poor and of marginalized people. We see these impacts in many cities where there is a spatial segregation between rich and poor, in the neglect of rural housing, demolition of informal settlements to make way for luxury housing and displacement of poor communities. Poor and marginalized people are pushed to the margins both socially and spatially. There is a need to re-emphasise the social function of housing and to reintegrate housing as a human right into housing policy.
Finally, we also want to underline the need for coherence between the human rights commitments of States and national policies on finance, trade and investment and housing. To increase coherence, there needs to be greater dialogue between the relevant actors and a breaking down of the silos which separate decision-making about housing, from decision-making about finance and marco-economic policy and about States’ international human rights commitments. A similar breaking down of silos between institutions is also needed at the international level.
We thank the Special Rapporteur for stimulating this much needed discussion.
Global Initiative for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
The Report is available HERE.