Human Rights Consultation in NY to Highlight Housing Rights Violations
Press Type: Press Release Associated Program: Human Rights
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE February 25, 2010
U.S. Human Rights Consultation in New York to Highlight Housing Rights Violations
NEW YORK- In preparation for its first-ever review under the new Universal Periodic Review (UPR) at the United Nations Human Rights Council, the U.S. government will hold a consultation with residents and organizations in New York on Friday, February 26 at Columbia Law School.
This day-long consultation, sponsored by the NationalLawCenter on Homelessness & Poverty ("the LawCenter"), ColumbiaLawSchool's Human Rights Institute and the UrbanJusticeCenter will feature presentations by advocates highlighting human rights issues related to housing, employment and labor, education, health and criminal justice. Representatives from the State, Housing & Urban Development, and Justice Departments among others, will attend.
Following last October's New York City visit of the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Adequate Housing, the human right to housing will feature prominently in the discussion. The LawCenter is coordinating a panel discussion on housing rights, featuring speakers from New York groups, including Picture the Homeless, Tenants and Neighbors, Community Voices Heard, the New York chapter of the National Alliance of HUD Tenants and L'ORAGE Productions.
This consultation offers an unprecedented opportunity for human rights advocates in New York to engage directly with the Administration - offering both a catalogue of human rights violations and recommendations for policy changes that will enhance human rights and dignity across the nation.
Eric Tars, the LawCenter's human rights program director said, "Housing rights violations are some of the most visible human rights violations in our country, and the international community has increasingly taken note of America's failure to uphold the right to housing. It is time for the United States to recognize that housing is a human right, and to take action that helps people realize that right."
Immediately following the day's closed-door presentations, the advocates and service providers will take government representatives on a tour of substandard residences and lost businesses in Harlem. The presenters will then reconvene for a press conference to discuss the UPR and the general state of the human right to housing in the United States outside the apartment building located at 1990 Adam Clayton Powell Blvd (on the120th St. side) at 6 p.m. Members of the press are invited to attend both the site visits and the press conference.
The New York consultation comes a week and a half after the release of the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Adequate Housing's report to the UN Human Rights Council on the affordable housing crisis in the United States. Her report provided an analysis of U.S. housing rights and policy following her tour of six U.S. cities last fall. It will also inform the UN review process. Her visit was co-coordinated by the LawCenter and the National Economic & Social Rights Initiative.
Robert Robinson, a board member at New York's Picture the Homeless said, "The consultations and the special rapporteur's report result in the voices of the people of New York, and the rest of the nation, being heard. The details of the rapporteur's report support what we have been telling our appointed and elected officials in this country for many years,that housing is a human right and that human right is not being recognized."
The UPR holds UN member countries accountable to human rights standards by requiring that all members submit reports to the Human Rights Council every four years. This is the United States' first review since the UPR was created in 2006.
This consultation is the third in a series of eight. Previous consultations have occurred in New Orleans and Chicago.The remaining consultations will take place in Dearborn, Mich., Albuquerque, El Paso, Tex., Birmingham, Ala., and San Francisco. The State Department will present written summaries of each of the consultations in its final report to the Human Rights Council.
For more information about the special rapporteur's report, click here.
For more information on housing as a human right, click here.