[Hpn] UN official: Poor housing a human concern

chance martin streetsheet@sf-homeless-coalition.org
Wed, 13 Jun 2001 13:03:07 -0700


Friday, 8 June 2001 0:05 (ET)

UN official: Poor housing a human concern

 UNITED NATIONS, June 7 (UPI) -- A United Nations official called on all
countries Thursday, especially the United States, to re-commit themselves to
adequate housing as a human right.

 U.N. Special Rapporteur on Adequate Housing Miloon Kothari said there has
been no progress in the implementation of the Habitat Agenda adopted five
years ago in Istanbul, Turkey. Kothari said the agenda reaffirmed the
commitment to the full and progressive realization of the right to adequate
housing and for sustainable human development.

 Participants at a three-day U.N. Conference reviewing the Habitat Agenda
should re-commit themselves, particularly given the fact that housing and
living conditions continued to deteriorate during the past five years,
Kothari said.

 He referred to a recent global report on settlement which showed that
"there has been an increase in poverty, more people are living in slums,
social exclusion is growing while part of the population is becoming
wealthier. This exclusion is very well characterized in housing and living

 He said more and more people, whether in North or South, have no access to
civil services and facing displacement.

 Referring to a political Declaration under negotiation by the delegates,
Kothari said it should be in full respect of human rights principle.

 The declaration, which was expected to be signed at the end of the
conference Friday, mainly refers to "good governance, durable solutions,
developed countries allocating 7 percent of their gross national product for
helping developing countries, world solidarity for eradicating poverty and
women's right to economic resources."

 But disagreement over housing and women rights still persist. Kothari said
the United States was refusing to acknowledge housing as "distinct human
right although this has been adopted by the United Nations."

 Other states were not showing much "We are here in a city (New York) which
has a very grave problem, with a growing number of homeless living here and
of single women who are in the streets," he said. "The United States, which
supports human rights across the world, should be the first government to
acknowledge the problems and say this is what we are going to do about it."

 Kothari noted that a number of nations, such as South Africa, Mexico,
Norway and Finland, have taken progressive steps for adequate shelters, "but
the problem is the consensus" as the housing problem was not restricted to
one country and rather affect the whole world.
Copyright 2001 by United Press International

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