There were 1.6 billion inadequately housed people across the world and an estimated 100 million who were completely homeless, comprising 20 to 40 million in the urban areas and about 60 million in the rural areas, Miloon Kothari, Special Rapporteur on the Right to Adequate Housing, said at a Headquarters press briefing this morning.
Briefing on homelessness and landlessness, the subject of the annual report he had presented to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights in April, he said that the driving forces behind homelessness were poverty; rapid economic globalization, which had worsened inequality in housing and land ownership; increasing trends towards privatization and land speculation; lack of affordable housing options; unplanned and involuntary urban migration; large-scale development and infrastructure projects, including dams that led to mass displacement; and ongoing conflicts around the world.
He stressed also the inequality in global land ownership, citing recent figures which showed that a mere 2.5 per cent of landowners controlled nearly three quarters of all private land. The main concern was a phenomenon of urban apartheid taking place across the world, partly due to an urban gentrification process – seen very strongly in
Mass evictions were another phenomenon of major concern, he said, noting that about 90,000 dwellings had been demolished in
The report pointed to a worsening of those trends in
Referring to a progress report he had presented to the Commission on Human Rights concerning a global study on women, housing and land, he said that lack of secure tenure, information and affordable social services, as well as discriminatory cultural and traditional practices were among the critical factors affecting womens right to adequate housing and land. In addition, there was a very clear link between violence against women and their lack of adequate housing. With respect to discrimination, there was a culture of silence regarding womens rights to housing, land, property and inheritance. Even where there was growing constitutional recognition of those rights, customs and traditions were normally dominant.
He said he had presented two mission reports, one on
The second mission report concerned