SRAH: Mission to Brazil


The purpose of the mission of the Special Rapporteur on the right to adequate housing as a component of the right to an adequate standard of living was to examine and report on the status of the realization of adequate housing as a component of the right to an adequate standard of living, with particular attention to aspects of gender equality and non-discrimination. He also sought to engage in dialogue with the Government, United Nations and international agencies and civil society, and to identify practical solutions and best practices in the realization of rights related to his mandate.

The Special Rapporteur is impressed by the demonstration of political will by the new Government and by the unprecedented support received from civil society groups. The challenges are of enormous magnitude with homelessness, landlessness, housing deficit and housing inadequacy prevailing in the country as a result of historic discrimination against the Afro-Brazilian community and indigenous peoples, and marginalization of the poor. Throughout his report the Special Rapporteur tries to highlight areas of particular concern, including the fragmented approach to policy development and programme planning; extreme poverty and inequality; and the negative impacts of privatization on basic services for the very poor. He stresses the need for faster progress with respect to the realization of land rights and land reforms; greater attention to the linkages between land, rural and urban poverty and the realization of the right to adequate housing; and affirmative actions to be taken with respect to groups such as indigenous peoples and Afro-Brazilian communities. In particular, he calls attention to the feminization of poverty and the need to place much greater emphasis on women’s equal rights to housing and land; the very great extent of inadequate and insecure housing and living conditions prevailing in many urban and rural areas; and the lack of effective participation in planning and development processes.

Throughout his report, the Special Rapporteur tries to highlight progress made and potential scope for further action. He formulates a number of recommendations including: the development of a new National Housing Policy based on human rights obligations; the reconciliation of macroeconomic and social objectives; the reorientation of existing housing finance programmes to meet the needs of the very poor; legislation to harmonize and simplify the issuing of title deeds; and increased inter-ministerial cooperation in areas such as human rights of indigenous peoples.