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Press release


Human Rights Council

Information ServiceUnited Nations Office at Geneva
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HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL REVIEWS MANDATES OF SPECIAL RAPPORTEURS ON PROTECTION OF HUMAN RIGHTS
WHILE COUNTERING TERRORISM, ADEQUATE HOUSING


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Human Rights Council
MIDDAY 13 December 2007


The Human Rights Council at a midday meeting today reviewed the mandates of the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights while countering terrorism, Martin Scheinin, and the Special Rapporteur on adequate housing as a component of the right to an adequate standard of living, Miloon Kothari.

Mexico, main sponsor of the draft resolution on the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights while countering terrorism, said Mr. Scheinin had carried out a cross-cutting function, and it was hoped that in the future he would continue to do so. His reports had afforded equal importance to civil and political rights and economic, social and cultural rights, including the right to development. The inclusion of good practices in his reports also had a relevant contribution to the work of the system. The Special Rapporteur had managed to establish cooperative action and dialogue. He had also completed four successful country visits, and carried out a study on the compatibility of anti-terrorist legislation with norms protecting the individual. There was no doubt that the international community as a whole today had, through the mandate, better awareness of the importance of respecting and protecting human rights and fundamental freedoms in work to counter terrorism. The resolution called for the extension of the mandate of the Special Rapporteur for a further three years.

Mr. Scheinin said too often, insufficient attention had been paid to the imperative of respecting human rights while countering terrorism. Unfortunately, the frequency of human rights abuses in the fight against terrorism and the complexities involved would make it necessary to maintain the mandate for at least another three years. A scheme of country visits had been opened up, including to some countries among the most pertinent ones in the context of the mandate; dialogue and cooperation had been extended beyond the human rights world by engaging with the Counter-Terrorism Committee of the Security Council and participating in the Global Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force; and thematic reports reflecting the complementary and comprehensive nature of the mandate had been produced. The mandate was in urgent need of more resources from the side of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

Speaking in the general debate on the mandate of the Special Rapporteur were Portugal on behalf of the European Union, Russian Federation, Italy, Canada, Egypt, Cuba, Switzerland, Pakistan, China, Bangladesh, Finland, Argentina, Belgium, Norway, Turkey and Algeria.

The following non-governmental organizations and national human rights institutions also took the floor: German Institute for Human Rights, Human Rights Watch, Federación de Asociaciones de Defensa y Promoción de los Derechos Humanos, Indian Movement Tupaj Amaru, International Commission of Jurists, and North-South XXI.

Germany, speaking also for Finland, introduced the assessment of the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on adequate housing as a component of the right to an adequate standard of living, saying the mandate had been created seven years ago, and had been extended in 2004. The first and only mandate-holder so far had been Miloon Kothari. During these seven years, a lot had been achieved. The question of adequate housing as a component of the right to an adequate standard of living had been firmly and visibly anchored in the human rights agenda and dialogue. A gender perspective had been integrated into that work, and the question of inequality of men and women with regard to the recognition and full realization of the right to adequate housing had been addressed. Germany and Finland welcomed the opportunity to have an assessment of the mandate and were looking forward to inputs from all delegations.

Mr. Kothari said that when he had started his work, he had proposed a definition for adequate housing as the right for everyone to have a sustained home to live in security and dignity. This definition had been vindicated over the years by responses he had received. He had been able to elaborate the definition and had integrated a strong gender perspective in this definition. Further, he had been able to embark on standard setting activities with several parties, which had resulted in a number of benchmarks. He had also been able to identify emerging issues such as the impact of global warming and climate change on coastal communities. In spite of all of these achievements, major challenges remained. The criminalizing of the homeless was one of them, as well as the persistence of inadequate and insecure housing in many areas of the world, urban and rural apartheid where segregation and apartheid was taking place, and the fact that the number of homeless persons continued to grow.

Speaking in the general debate on the review of the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the right to adequate housing were Portugal on behalf of the European Union, Russian Federation, Italy, Egypt, Switzerland, Argentina and Algeria.

The following non-governmental organizations also took the floor: Centre on Housing Rights and Evictions and Asian Legal Resource Centre.

The Council is holding three back-go-back meetings from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. today. When the Council concluded its midday meeting, it immediately started its afternoon meeting during which it is expected to review the mandates of the Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health, the Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in Liberia, and the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Sudan.

Presentation on Assessment of Mandate of Special Rapporteur on Protecting Human Rights while Countering Terrorism

LUIS ALFONSO DE ALBA (Mexico), speaking as main sponsor to the draft resolution on the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the protection and promotion of human rights while countering terrorism, said in order to meet the essential protection needs on human rights while combating terrorism, it had been determined that while there had been a need to protect these, the issue had not been dealt with in an integrated manner. With a view to strengthening monitoring of human rights in respect of counter-terrorism measures, a mandate had been designed to complement the work of various United Nations bodies whilst avoiding duplication. The mechanism had been designed to provide advice to States, ensuring that they respected international humanitarian, refugee, and human rights law. The Council had created by consensus in 2005 this mandate, in a resolution in which it stated that part of the mandate of the Special Rapporteur was to formulate recommendations on the protection and promotion of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism, which included providing advice services and technical assistance when States so requested. The mandate also included an exchange of information with all relevant bodies, as per request.

The exchange and promotion of best practices was also a focus. The Special Rapporteur was to work in close coordination with other Special Rapporteurs, Independent Experts, and other United Nations competent bodies, and to establish ongoing dialogue and establish areas of cooperation with all relevant bodies including Governments, specialised agencies, and relevant programmes, as well as international instruments. The Special Rapporteur had carried out a cross-cutting function, and it was hoped that in the future he would continue to do so. His reports had afforded equal importance to civil and political rights and economic, social and cultural rights, including the right to development. The inclusion of good practices in his reports also had a relevant contribution to the work of the system. The Special Rapporteur had managed to establish cooperative action and dialogue. He had also completed four successful country visits, and carried out a study on the compatibility of anti-terrorist legislation with norms protecting the individual. There was no doubt that the international community as a whole today had, through the mandate, better awareness of the importance of respecting and protecting human rights and fundamental freedoms in work to counter terrorism. The resolution called for the extension of the mandate of the Special Rapporteur for a further three years.

Presentation by Special Rapporteur on Protecting Human Rights while Countering Terrorism

MARTIN SCHEININ, Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism, said that the mandate was still the ‘new kid on the block’, having been established less than three years ago. It was a complementary and comprehensive mandate that should avoid duplication but had plenty of room for coordination and cooperation with other mandates. Too often, insufficient attention had been paid to the imperative of respecting human rights while countering terrorism. Unfortunately, the frequency of human rights abuses in the fight against terrorism and the complexities involved would make it necessary to maintain the mandate for at least another three years.

A scheme of country visits had been opened up, including to some countries among the most pertinent ones in the context of the mandate; dialogue and cooperation had been extended beyond the human rights world by engaging with the Counter-Terrorism Committee of the Security Council and participating in the Global Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force; and thematic reports reflecting the complementary and comprehensive nature of the mandate had been produced.

The mandate was in urgent need of more resources from the side of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. The impact would be greater if efforts could simply be intensified. Closer interaction was hoped for, including on country visits to Egypt and other North African countries, Pakistan, the Philippines, and other States in South East Asia. More also needed to be done in the identification and dissemination of best practices in combating terrorism while respecting human rights.

Mr. Scheinin said he was frustrated by the lack of action on the recommendations of his reports and on the lack of cooperation to various degrees with access to detainees, particularly from the United States.

General Debate on Review of Mandate of Special Rapporteur on Protecting Human Rights while Countering Terrorism

CARLOS PEREIRA MARQUES (Portugal), speaking on behalf of the European Union, congratulated the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights while countering terrorism for the work undertaken in developing that important mandate. He had proven the added value of the mandate, while taking particular care to avoid overlap and maintaining close contact with major actors in the United Nations system.

The European Union would like to ask a number of forward-looking questions, as it was confident that the mandate would be renewed with broad support at the end of the present session. In the fight against terrorism there was often a delicate balance between privacy and security requirements. How would the Special Rapporteur analyse and map the road ahead in that area? The European Union was particularly concerned to avoid duplication and overlap. In that context, what were the main relevant mandates in ensuring the cooperative approach to ensuring the promotion and protection of human rights while countering terrorism? What mechanisms had proven essential in achieving results?

MARINA VIKTOROVA (Russian Federation) said that the Russian Federation supported the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on promoting human rights while countering terrorism. The Russian Federation would like the Special Rapporteur to take into account, within the framework of his mandate, the questions of violations of human rights by terrorist groups, where they controlled the territory; use by States of non-state actors, like private militias, to combat actors of terrorism; liability of State and non state-groups for violations of human rights; the prevention of terrorism; and the abuse by terrorists of asylum and other human rights guarantees to conduct their activities.

ROBERTO VELLANO (Italy) said Italy supported the mandate of the Special Rapporteur and his work. Through it, the Commission on Human Rights and now the Human Rights Council had been able to follow closely the development of counter-terrorism and its impact on international law. The Special Rapporteur could play an important role in addressing concerns and working in close coordination with other Special Procedures mandate-holders.

Over the last year, the Special Rapporteur had focussed on a number of thematic issues of special interest to his mandate, including the freedoms of assembly and association in the context of counter-terrorism measures, profiling practices, suicide attacks, and international standards on the use of firearms by law enforcement officials. It was vital that the mandate be continued.

JOHN VON KAUFMANN (Canada) observed that fighting international terrorism was a long-term global challenge. Canada unequivocally condemned terrorism and was committed to international efforts aimed at its eradication. Combating terrorism demanded a consistent, comprehensive and coordinated international response. Respect for human rights and the rule of law had to be at the core of all countries' counter-terrorism efforts. Canada had been instrumental in ensuring that regional and international counter-terrorism instruments also promoted and protected human rights.

Canada considered that the continuation of the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights while countering terrorism was instrumental to strengthening their common strategic approach to combating terrorism. The Council was an essential venue for work to promote respect for human rights in combating terrorism, and the Special Rapporteur had a central role to play in supporting States' efforts in that regard.

OMAR SHALABY (Egypt) said that Egypt considered this mandate to be of vital importance. The establishment of this mandate had been most timely, especially in the wake of September 11. The mandate was cutting across a wide range of issues and was extremely challenging. A delicate balance had to be struck between the duty of States to protect their citizens and respecting human rights. The Special Rapporteur’s country visits had been beneficial. New issues should be included in the Special Rapporteur’s mandate, including the examination of the root causes of terrorism, as well as human rights violations committed by non-state actors and combating impunity for human rights violations committed while countering terrorism.

YURI ARIEL GALA LOPEZ (Cuba) supported the revision, rationalization and improvement of all mandates, and genuine dialogue and cooperation on the rights to self-determination, to true and participatory democracy, and to the promotion and protection of fundamental rights for all people. Cuba defended the strengthening of the system of thematic mandates and wished to avoid any situation where mandates were divorced from objectivity.

The mandate of the Special Rapporteur was established because all States were concerned for the protection of human rights in a context of the fear of terror. The abuse of rights was already apparent at the time and the Special Rapporteur had worked on important elements relating to abuses. There were still cases of suspects been held without charge, extraordinary rendition, and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment.

NATHALIE KOHLI (Switzerland) said that Switzerland fully supported the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights while countering terrorism and was a co-sponsor of the draft resolution extending that mandate. It was essential that there be close coordination between the mandate and other relevant bodies and mechanisms of the Council, avoiding all unnecessary overlapping of efforts. Switzerland also underscored the importance of an ongoing and substantial dialogue between all relevant actors, in particular within the United Nations system – such as the Security Council's Counter-Terrorism Committee, the Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, and the service for the prevention of terrorism within the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, avoiding any duplication of effort.

Switzerland asked how the Special Rapporteur planned, if his mandate was renewed, to strengthen and coordinate cooperation with all of those concerned actors?

TEHMINA JANJUA (Pakistan) said Pakistan supported the mandate of the Special Rapporteur. Pakistan had found his report to be highly valuable. The mandate could not be discontinued in the current state of affairs in the world. Pakistan agreed that the Special Rapporteur should address in his considerations the root causes of terrorism.

YOUSHENG KE (China) said that this was a very important thematic mandate. China supported the extension of the mandate of the Special Rapporteur and hoped that he would deal objectively and impartially with all information received in his role. While discharging the mandate, issues of economic, social and cultural rights and the impact of countering terrorism would be dealt with. While promoting and protecting human rights, the Special Rapporteur should respect the efforts of all countries to combat terrorism within the law.

MUSTAFIZUR RAHMAN (Bangladesh) said that Bangladesh supported the global effort to combat terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. Bangladesh also supported the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights while countering terrorism, and the work undertaken by the mandate-holder. In particular, Bangladesh highlighted the need to address the root causes of terrorism, and applauded the Special Rapporteur's attention to that issue. In that regard, Bangladesh wanted to discuss how the mandate would help on that very important issue, and felt it should be reflected in the draft resolution to extend the mandate.

PEKKA METSO (Finland) said that the Special Rapporteur’s work had been extremely valuable. How would he see the work in the field of economic, social and cultural rights in relation to his work be developed further? How would he consider the possible further cooperation with treaty bodies? The work of the Special Rapporteur was fully supported.

SEBASTIAN ROSALES (Argentina) said Argentina was strongly committed to the importance of maintaining the mandate of the Special Rapporteur. Argentina was committed to combating terrorism, and recognized that the fight against terrorism should respect and guarantee the rights and fundamental freedoms of all people. The fight against terrorism should not constitute a mechanism to permit acts of arbitrary discrimination, nor to infringe on the rights and liberties of a democratic society.

BART OUVRY (Belgium) said that Belgium aligned itself with the statement made by Portugal on behalf of the European Union. Mr. Scheinin, as first mandate holder of the post of Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights while countering terrorism, had addressed a range of important issues, including secret detention, profiling, and the coordination of the mandate with other bodies, and he had also carried out a number of country visits. Moreover, through his recommendations, the Special Rapporteur had helped States to respect their obligations to respect human rights in the fight against terrorism.

As recent events had once again demonstrated, terrorism unfortunately continued to be present in all societies. The mandate thus remained fully relevant and Belgium fully supported its continuation. Belgium then asked, what analysis would the Special Rapporteur make regarding the cooperation of States with the mandate? What was his assessment of his cooperation with other UN bodies involved in counter-terrorism mechanisms?

BEATE STIRO (Norway) said that Norway strongly supported the mandate of the Special Rapporteur and had been among those who had strongly supported its creation. The Special Rapporteur had drawn attention to important evolving human rights trends and challenges in the context of counter-terrorism measures and strategies. The substantial number of country visits had been a key part of his mandate. Any perception that the fundamental rights and freedoms may be set aside to fight terrorism would in the long term only undermine these efforts.

TUGBA SARAYINLU ETENSEL (Turkey) said that terrorism was the greatest threat that the world faced today. No country was immune from the spill-over effect of terrorism. It was important to uphold human rights, the rule of law and democratic principles in the fight against terrorism. Although terrorism was not a new phenomenon, the mandate was only established two years ago. Mr Scheinin had laid a foundation and shaped a future.

In the short term of the mandate, a range of thematic issues had been dealt with. Reflections had been made on very complex issues such as the definition of terrorism. There were no easy answers as to how to identify or deal with conditions that might be conducive to terrorism. Fruitful dialogue was probably the key to the overall success and effectiveness of all mandates.

MOHAMMED BESSEDIK (Algeria) said that Algeria thanked Mexico and Mr. Scheinin, the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights while countering terrorism, for their presentations. Algeria stressed that this process of reviewing mandates was one to which it attached great importance. It also emphasized the need for interaction between this mandate and other mandates, as well as with other United Nations mechanisms dealing with terrorism and related topics.

In Algeria's view, there should be a convention on combating terrorism. There was a conflict in today's world: how could one identify a terrorist action, given the lack of a definition? That was why it was possible that, since 11 September 2001 it was possible to describe a Muslim, an asylum-seeker, and those who were displaced as terrorists. That definition needed to be drawn up inasmuch as those that were struggling to enjoy their right to self-determination were being defined as terrorists.

KHATARINA ROSE, of German Institute for Human Rights, said that the German Institute for Human Rights supported the renewal of the mandate. Country visits and recommendations to Governments had been key mechanisms to develop best practices and strategies in a context where States might be tempted to further develop legislation that might violate the rule of law and undermine human rights and fundamental freedoms. The role of international intelligence cooperation was an issue of growing concern for national human rights institutions and it needed further attention.

JULIE DE RIVERO, of Human Rights Watch, said the Special Rapporteur’s recent reports on his trips to Israel, the United States and South Africa had advanced understanding of how fundamental human rights could be undermined while countering terrorism. Terrorism was anathema to the very concept of human rights. Human Rights Watch was also deeply concerned about Government counter-terrorism measures which violated human rights, believing them to be short-sighted, counterproductive and unjustifiable. Counter-terrorism measures in a number of countries had recently made deep encroachments on the right to be free of torture, arbitrary detention, and unfair trial. They had also threatened the right to freedom of expression, the right to freedom of religion, the principle of non-discrimination, and the right to privacy. The mandate remained absolutely vital today.

DAVID FERNANDEZ PUYANA, of Federación de Asociaciones de Defensa y Promoción de los Derechos Humanos, said that the rights of individuals should prevail over the rights of the State. While the Federación de Asociaciones valued global security, they also valued education, and social welfare. Unfortunately, following the events of 11 September 2001, many States had given priority to national security over human rights. The report of the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights while countering terrorism had underscored that point.

LAZARO PARY, of Indian Movement “Tupaj Amaru”, on behalf of World Peace Council, said that indigenous people were against terrorism; they had themselves been victims of terrorism. The Special Rapporteur should analyse causes and effects of terrorism. Terrorism was nothing new; it went back to the colonization period. First of all a clear definition of terrorism should be given. It was also noted that under the United States Patriot Act, many human rights violations had occurred.

LUKAS MACHON, of International Commission of Jurists, said since the creation of the mandate of the Special Rapporteur, there had been a proliferation in measures for counter-terrorism. It was vital that the mandate of the Special Rapporteur be renewed by consensus for an additional three years. States should cooperate fully with the mandate. Algeria, Egypt, Malaysia, Pakistan and Tunisia should respond positively to his long-term request for a visit. The Special Rapporteur should be able to observe relevant judicial hearings. The Human Rights Council should adopt the conclusions of the Special Rapporteur and act on them during the Universal Periodic Review. Impunity had been a recurring theme in the fight against terrorism. Human rights protection had been considered one of the pillars of the United Nations counter-terrorism regime, and to be meaningful, changes were required, including the human rights perspective in the work of the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Committee.

NIRAJ PABARI, of North-South XXI, said North-South XXI very much supported the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights while countering terrorism. North-South XXI drew attention to the example the Special Rapporteur had set by his willingness to address the actions of some of the most powerful States in relation to the promotion and protection of human rights while countering terrorism. Indeed, North-South XXI believed that ensuring first and foremost that the largest, wealthiest, and most powerful States respected human rights should be the main focus of the mandate. That, in turn, would lead to an example to be followed by all States, large and small.

Concluding Remarks on Review of Mandate of Special Rapporteur on Protecting Human Rights while Countering Terrorism

MARTIN SCHEININ, Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights while countering terrorism, in concluding remarks, said that in the statements, he had detected broad support for the continuation of the mandate. Answering the question on the need to define terrorism, he said that this was a problem but he did not need a definition as he was acting whenever States were using that term. There was ample room for action despite the lacking of a definition. In respect of private actors acting in the fight against terrorism, his position was that there was a need to address this. Some short ideas he had for the mandate to further cover were, among other things, to add the privacy issues in the conduct of counter-terrorism activities. The issue of intelligence agencies should also be addressed. On the coordination with other bodies, he said that the links had already been made; it was just an issue of practical work.

JOSE GUEVARA (Mexico), in concluding remarks on the debate as main sponsor to the resolution, said the review the Human Rights Council had just held followed up on resolutions which said that it needed to review and rationalise all mechanisms and machinery dealing with the responsibility of the Human Rights Council, in order to maintain a system for Special Procedures. In this context, the consideration of the mandate of the Special Rapporteur as carried out had focussed on the relevant scope and content of the mandate, bearing in mind the international context of the mandate. All delegations had made proposals in a transparent manner - thanks to all these ideas, the mandate should be further improved and refined. Thanks to constructive spirit and good faith, the text of the resolution extending the mandate would no doubt be concluded.

Review of the Mandate of the Special Rapporteur on Adequate Housing as a Component of the Right to an Adequate Standard of Living

Presentation on Assessment of Mandate of Special Rapporteur on Right to Housing

REINHARD SCHWEPPE (Germany), speaking also on behalf of Finland, introduced the assessment of the mandate on adequate housing as a component of the right to an adequate standard of living. The mandate on adequate housing had been created seven years ago, and had had been extended in 2004. The first and only mandate-holder so far had been Miloon Kothari. The mandate-holder had been requested, inter alia, to apply a gender perspective in the work of the mandate, to develop a regular dialogue on that issue with stakeholders at various levels, and to promote cooperation among and assistance to Governments. In fulfilling his duties, the Special Rapporteur had undertaken 13 country visits, submitted annual reports, and received individual complaints. He had participated in regional and local conferences, including the World Summit on Sustainable Development and Habitat +5. He had also entered into dialogue with the United Nations human rights treaty bodies.

During these seven years, a lot had been achieved. The question of adequate housing as a component of the right to an adequate standard of living had been firmly and visibly anchored in the human rights agenda and dialogue. A gender perspective had been integrated into that work, and the question of inequality of men and women with regard to the recognition and full realization of the right to adequate housing had been addressed. The mandate holder, through his reports and statements, had also thoroughly analysed various obstacles to the realization of the right to adequate housing, including forced evictions, homelessness, privatisation of civic services and affordability. He had also given his input on a number of practical solutions to those questions, such as the development of standards and tools to monitor the realization of the right to adequate housing. Germany and Finland welcomed the opportunity to have an assessment of the mandate and were looking forward to inputs from all delegations.

Statement by Special Rapporteur on Right to Housing

MILOON KOTHARI, Special Rapporteur on adequate housing as a component of the right to an adequate standard of living, with regard to the rationalization and improvement of his mandate, said that when he had started his work, he had proposed a definition for adequate housing as the right for everyone to have a sustained home to live in security and dignity. This definition had been vindicated over the years by responses he had received. He had been able to elaborate on the definition and had integrated a strong gender perspective in this definition. Further, he had been able to embark on standard setting activities with several parties, which had resulted in a number of benchmarks. He had also been able to identify emerging issues such as the impact of global warming and climate change on coastal communities.

In spite of all of those achievements, major challenges remained, said Mr. Kothari. The criminalizing of the homeless was one of them, as well as the persistence of inadequate and insecure housing in many areas of the world, urban and rural apartheid where segregation and apartheid was taking place, and the fact that the number of homeless continued to grow.

General Debate on Review of Mandate of Special Rapporteur on Right to Housing

CARLOS PEREIRA MARQUES, (Portugal), speaking on behalf of the European Union, said the European Union strongly supported the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on adequate housing as a component of the right to an adequate standard of living. Mr. Kothari had undertaken valuable work as the first and only holder of this mandate since its inception, especially with a view to putting the question of adequate housing firmly on the human rights agenda. The strong integration of a gender perspective into the work of the mandate was welcomed, as was the work done in highlighting women’s rights in relation to housing, land, and property. Mr. Kothari had approached the mandate in a constructive and cooperative way, which was paramount in order to establish and enhance dialogue and exchange between the various stakeholders on the national, regional and international level.

Problems with regard to the fulfilment of the right to adequate housing did persist. The European Union had questions for the mandate holder: what role did he attribute to the question of standard setting with regard to furthering the realisation of the right to adequate housing; how did his participation at regional and global conferences influence his work and where did he see room for closer collaboration; and could he elaborate on his main findings with regard to the specific problems faced by women with regard to the realisation of their rights in adequate housing; and why should this issue be followed up by a successor to the mandate.

ROMAN (Russian Federation) said the Russian Federation on the whole was positive about the activities undertaken by Special Rapporteur on adequate housing as a component of the right to an adequate standard of living, Miloon Kothari, and also valued his contribution to the overall cause of protecting human rights. It hoped that the activities of the Special Rapporteur would continue in future to be objective and conform to the Code of Conduct of the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Taking into account the topicality of this issue, the Russian Federation supported the continuation of the mandate.

NICOLETTA PICIRILLO (Italy) said that Italy welcomed the efforts that had been made by the Special Rapporteur. On the matter of close cooperation with several other parties, how did he envisage the enhancement of this cooperation? On the issue of access to safe drinking water, what steps could be undertaken to advance this matter?

OMAR SHALABY (Egypt) said Egypt welcomed the opportunity to discuss the various aspects of the mandate. The achievements of the mandate included better reaffirmation and a higher profile of the right to housing, and clarification of its scope. Some issues were pending, such as the Guidelines on Development-Based Evictions. The platform had sometimes been used to advance controversial notions. These notions were, in addition to being inadmissible in principle, without link to the mandate, and had no scientific backing or evidence.

Some areas falling within the purview of the mandate did not get the attention required, such as the situation of refugees and minorities, racism and discrimination, situations of armed conflict, environment-based discrimination, family integration in the context of housing, the role of international cooperation and assistance, facilitation and provision of advisory services, and technical cooperation. With these areas being examined more closely, the mandate could enhance its effectiveness. The Special Rapporteur should say what were his views on these matters, and explain whether he had issues of his own which he thought would enhance the effectiveness of his mandate.

NATHALIE KOHLI (Switzerland) thanked Miloon Kothari for his commitment and for his work in his capacity as the Special Rapporteur on adequate housing as a component of the right to an adequate standard of living, work that he had accomplished unfailingly for the past seven years. The right to housing was a fundamental right in several ways. Housing was much more than four walls covered by a roof. It was linked with private life, the family, and the domestic sphere. Adequate housing also contributed to better health and provided a framework to pursue schooling and education.

The mandate of the Special Rapporteur on adequate housing was also pertinent in relation to the need to take a coordinated and integrated approach to the promotion and protection of economic, social and cultural rights. Switzerland would unreservedly support the renewal of the mandate.

SEBASTIAN ROSALES (Argentina) said that it was of primary importance to preserve the mandates in the Special Procedures system that had proved to be relevant. Argentina supported the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on adequate housing and believed that the importance of the indicators he had set was relevant. Argentina believed that the issues under this mandate were of importance and that they deserved continued attention.

LARBI DJACTA (Algeria) said Algeria reaffirmed the principles and commitments enshrined in the relevant provisions of the declaration, and programmes adopted by major United Nations conferences and summits and their follow-up meeting with regard to adequate housing. The right related to adequate housing was an integrated part of human rights at large. The Special Rapporteur was invited to cooperate, while avoiding duplication, with other United Nations Special Procedures.

Further work was required with regard to the Guidelines on Development-Based Evictions and Displacement, including through consultations with Member States. While addressing the right to adequate housing, more attention should be given to such areas as migrants and refugees. Family integration should be given more attention, and Member States should cooperate with the Special Rapporteur on how to integrate this matter, including through domestic legislation, policies and programmes.

JESICA MARASOVIC, of Centre on Housing Rights and Evictions, said that the first and current mandate-holder on the right to adequate housing, Miloon Kothari, had earned the praise of this house. His work on behalf of the world's excluded had been unfailing. If nothing else, the compelling nature of the mandate itself would justify the renewal of the mandate. The inability of the Council to welcome the work of the mandate-holder could be taken as a backhanded compliment to Mr. Kothari's unflinching and objective pursuit of his mandate. The draft resolution on the renewal of the mandate left sufficient scope to the next mandate holder to redefine the scope and the relationship of the mandate with the Council.

BASEER NAWEED, of Asian Legal Resource Center, said that the Asian Legal Resource Centre expressed support for the renewal of the Special Rapporteur’s mandate. His work had been useful in several issues of illegal displacements carried out by States.

Concluding Remarks

MILOON KOTHARI, Special Rapporteur on the right to adequate housing as a component of the right to an adequate standard of living, said he was grateful for the tremendous support for his mandate, in particular that of the European Union. Every time he travelled to a country on mission, the question was always asked on how to understand the human right of housing, and to monitor the realisation of the right. This was why he had embarked on the development of standards and indicators and other projects, all meant to clarify and improve understanding of the right so that Governments could draft national law and policy to assist in the realisation of the right to adequate housing. The conferences that he had attended over the years had a wide range of topics and they had assisted him in making more precise the approach to the right, and highlighting the enormous issue at the global level.

On women and housing, Mr. Kothari said that problems he had identified included lack of security, unemployment and discrimination, cultural discrimination and practices, and a whole range of other issues he had presented in his reports to the Council. He had tried his very best to be objective in the work. There was great scope for increased cooperation from States with the mandate, as well as great scope from United Nations agencies. The mainstreaming of human rights had not gone very far, and could even be considered as a failure in many aspects. It was important for the Council to convince United Nations agencies to improve this situation. One of the reasons he had not gone into the issues raised by Egypt was because he considered them to be overlapping with other mandates. He hoped the next Special Rapporteur would further examine these, including the role of international cooperation and assistance.

A tremendous amount of work remained to be done, and Mr. Kothari said he was glad to hear of the strong resolution that was emerging on the right to adequate housing. He would offer his full support to the next mandate holder, and continue to work hard in the months remaining before him.

KATRI SILFVERBERG (Finland), speaking also on behalf of Germany, thanked the Special Rapporteur for his valuable work and for his input to this dialogue, enabling the Human Rights Council to get his views and visions on the mandate and its future. Finland and Germany also thanked all delegations that had participated in the dialogue.

It had been very encouraging to see the high level of support for both the work of the mandate holder and for the mandate itself. This reflected the importance of the mandate and the success in the way it was carried out.
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