Mexico: Parallel report


The Special Rapporteur on Adequate Housing systematically promotes the indivisibility approach, as no sustainable development is possible without respect, protection, fulfillment, promotion and monitoring of all human rights. Yet, from the post-1996 Declarations to the MDGs, current intergovernmental development plans regressively lack a guiding human rights framework. Economic, social and cultural rights now should be our common reference more than ever, as they presage all sustainable economic and social development.

To correct the retrogressive trend and transform rights into problem-solving actions, the affected communities must have the opportunity of full, democratic participation, a codified human right, interdependant as the rights of self-expression, gender equality, nondiscrimination and self-determination. The local members of the Housing and Land Rights Network of Habitat International Coalition have identified these rights as congruent elements of the human right to adequate housing.

Applying human rights in their integrity indeed represents the best way to avoid gross violations of people’s housing rights, but also for people to promote their own solutions to problems, instead of being treated themselves as problems to be solved.

Economic, social and cultural rights fulfillment does not only mean a State’s management of resource investments, but, firstly, political will to respect, protect, promote fulfill and monitor rights along with education, capacity building and guaranteed legal remedy.

Too many detailed examples of forcibly evicted slum dwellers, in their thousands, show how people migrating from poor and neglected rural communities find themselves twice victims of authorities’ carelessness, finally to be unjustly harassed, evicted and collectively punished as the cause of undisciplined urbanization and skewed development.

Therefore, for the well-being of all human inhabitants, we urge the treaty-bound national and local authorities of developing countries, as well as the international financial institutions and development agencies that drive urbanization policies, to address urban and rural development equally. Today’s urban migration and blight are not inevitable when governments and development agents overcome their own urban bias, and instead ensure that human rights and development as statecraft also allow men and women equally to survive and thrive on their land.

The violation of indigenous peoples’, forests dwellers’ and farmers’ rights to their lands and natural resources, as variously exemplified in India, Palestine, Thailand, Kenya, Tibet, Kurdistan, the Americas and Egypt, require urgent redress, just as much as poor city dwellers need security of tenure and freedom from dispossession and eviction. All should benefit from access to public and environmental goods and services, habitability, security, appropriate location, culturally adequate housing, indeed all elements of the human right to adequate housing and the covenanted principles of application.[i]

We must acknowledge that housing rights violations do not occur only in developing or occupied countries. Increasing privatization of public services, especially public housing, in European countries, threatens legal protection of tenants and raises prices like in worse-off countries. That also indirectly deprives the poorest their access to services as vital as water and health care. The private-sector actors and multinational companies, increasingly powerful in deregulated markets, also should bear responsibilities. For that, all governments should ensure participation and consent of development-affected communities in privatization agreements. To this practical end, we strongly support continuing the UN Human Rights in Business consultation further to develop guidelines. We also reaffirm our support for the CESCR Optional Protocol as a valuable and necessary instrument for ESC Rights guidance and fulfillment.

[i] The first two articles of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights indicates the six principle over-riding principles of this particular treaty-law application : (1) self-determination, (2) nondiscrimination, (3) gender equality, (4) rule of law, (5) international cooperation and (6) “progressive realization” (or nonretrorgession/nonregressivity).