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France: UN housing rights expert to visit


GENEVA (2 April 2018) – The UN Special Rapporteur on the right to adequate housing, Leilani Farha, is visiting France upon invitation of the Government from 2 to 11 April. 

The human rights expert will examine the status of the realisation of the right to adequate housing in the country.
“I will pay particular attention to gender equality and non-discrimination, the protection of those who are in situation of homelessness, refugees, people with disabilities and the poor,” the UN expert said.

“France is one of the few countries which has adopted a law allowing people with inadequate housing or who are homeless to claim access to public housing. The law has now been in force for 10 years, so I want to know how well it is working.

“I would also like to learn more about programmes and policies to achieve UN Sustainable Development Goal 11.1 on housing in cities and to ensure access to safe, affordable and adequate housing and basic services for all by 2030,” she said.

“Around the world, housing affordability, particularly in central urban areas, has become an issue of concern. Housing prices have dramatically risen, while the income of residents has seen only moderate growth. A contributing factor is housing speculation, which serves to increase property prices and pushes residents out of their neighbourhoods and cities. Throughout my mission, I hope to understand how this issue is being manifested in France.”  

Other issues include France’s social housing policies, the human rights of people living in informal settlements and substandard housing conditions, and the prevention of forced evictions.

The Special Rapporteur will meet senior national and local government officials, representatives of public institutions responsible for urban development, delivering human rights, and those combating poverty and homelessness. She will also have talks with civil society organisations and residents of neighbourhoods and settlements in and around Paris, Calais, Grande-Synthe, Toulouse and Marseille.

At the end of the visit the Special Rapporteur will hold a press conference to share her preliminary findings and recommendations at 10:00 o’clock local time on 12 April 2019 at the Commission nationale consultative des droits de l’homme (CNCDH), 20 avenue de Ségur, 75007 Paris, in the Jean Monnet room. Access to the conference is strictly limited to journalists and media representatives. For security reasons, advance registration with margot.tedesco@cncdh.fr or lucie.dufleit@cncdh.fr is required. Please bring an identity document for entry.


Ms Leilani Farha is the UN Special Rapporteur on adequate housingas 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. 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. Her most recent report to the Human Rights Council focusses on access to justice for the right to housing.

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: France

For more information and media requests please contact:
Mr. Gunnar Theissen during the visit: (+41 79 444 4078 / gtheissen@ohchr.org;)

After the visit: (+41 22 917 9321), or write to srhousing@ohchr.org

For media inquiries related to other UN independent experts please contact
Mr. Jeremy Laurence, UN Human Rights – Media Unit (+41 22 917 9383) jlaurence@ohchr.org

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