Indian-led report indicts Canada on housing rights

March 6th, 2009 - 12:25 pm ICT by IANS  

Toronto, March 6 (IANS) Miloon Kothari, a globally respected Indian who heads a UN committee on housing rights, has warned Canada to urgently have a “comprehensive and coordinated national housing policy” to meet its international housing rights obligations.

In a new global report, Kothari, who is the United Nations’ Special Rapporteur on the Right to Adequate Housing, says that Canada is the only major country in the world without a national housing plan. This leaves poor Canadians in deep housing insecurity and homelessness, Kothari says in his report.

The report will be tabled at the United Nations’ Human Rights Council in Geneva Monday.

Lauding Kothari for his report, Michael Shapcott of the local Wellesley Institute which specializes in urban issues, said, “As a leading and well-respected global expert on housing and homelessness, Kothari is telling Canada that it is failing to meet its fundamental obligations in international law.

“This is the latest in a series of damning reports from the United Nations - and should be a clear warning that Canada needs to adopt the practical recommendations set out by Kothari.”

The indictment of Canadian policy makers follows an equally critical report by the United Nations’ Committee on Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in May 2006 which called housing insecurity and homelessness in Canada “a national emergency”.

As part of his report, Kothari, who is an architect by training,visited Canada extensively on a fact-finding mission.

In August 2001, Kothari had written a stinging letter to Indian prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee against the violation of human rights of Sardar Sarovar Project evacuees in Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh.

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