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Right to housing: UN expert launches fact-finding visit to South Korea


GENEVA/SEOUL (11 May 2018) – UN human rights expert Leilani Farha will visit South Korea from 14 to 23 May to assess achievements and challenges in the realisation of the right to adequate housing.

“My principal objective will be to examine whether housing conditions for the most vulnerable groups are consistent with international human rights norms and standards, and whether national and local governments in the Republic of Korea are meeting their international human rights obligations in this regard,” said Ms Farha, the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to adequate housing.

“Despite reported improvements in housing conditions, the availability of affordable housing in metropolitan areas and the persistent increase in levels of homelessness is of concern,” she added.

The expert will address issues related to gentrification and financialization and their impact on housing affordability for the most vulnerable populations, including young people trying to acquire their first home and older people fighting to remain in their communities.

In relation to the financialization of housing, Ms Farha will also explore the motivations, causes and effects of investment by Korean pension funds in foreign property in order to securitize and diversify their investment portfolios.

The expert, who visits the Republic of Korea at the invitation of the Government, will visit Seoul, Gwacheon, Sejong, Jinju and Busan. She will meet officials and representatives from various ministries as well as local authorities, state-owned housing corporations, the private property sector, civil society and academics.

At the end of her visit, on 23 May at 10:00 local time, the Special Rapporteur will hold a news conference at the Korea Press Centre, 25, 1-GA, Taepyong-RO, Chung-GU, Seoul, South Korea, to share with the media her preliminary observations and conclusions. Access to the news conference is strictly limited to journalists.


Ms Leilani Farha is the UN Special Rapporteur on adequate housing as a component of the right to an adequate standard of living, and on the right to non-discrimination in this context. She took up her mandate in June 2014. Ms Farha is the Executive Director of the NGO Canada without Poverty, based in Ottawa. A lawyer by training, for the past 20 years Ms Farha has worked both internationally and domestically on the implementation of the right to adequate housing for the most marginalized groups and on the situation of people living in poverty.

The Special Rapporteurs are part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system, is the general name of the Council’s independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. Special Procedures experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent from any government or organization and serve in their individual capacity.

UN Human Rights country page: Republic of Korea

For more information and media requests please contact:
During the visit: Gunnar Theissen at (+41 79 444 4828 / gtheissen@ohchr.org)
After and before the visit: Gunnar Theissen at (+41 22 917 93 21) or write to srhousing@ohchr.org

For media inquiries related to other UN independent experts:
Jeremy Laurence – Media Unit (+ 41 22 917 9383 / jlaurence@ohchr.org)  

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