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United Nations

Summary of Meeting:NGO Consultation with the Special Rapporteur on the Right to Adequate Housing, Ms Leilani Farha, 2 October 2014, Geneva

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Update from Geneva: Economic, Social and Cultural Rights at the UN Human Rights Council, Fall 2014

Economic, Social and Cultural Rights at the 27th session of the Human Rights Council
8 – 26 September 2014

The 27th session of the Human Rights Council saw States considering a broad range of economic, social and cultural rights and associated issues.

The session included the first interaction, including a meeting with civil society, of the new High Commissioner for Human Rights and provided insights into his views related to economic, social and cultural rights as well as his mandate generally.

Special Procedures mandate holders in relation to the the Rights to Water and Sanitation and the Implications for Human Rights of the Environmentally Sound Management and Disposal of Hazardous Substances and Wastes presented their most recent reports.  On water and sanitation, the Special Rapporteur released her report on violations of the human rights to water and sanitation, which is useful to identifying violations of economic, social and cultural rights generally, as well as the ‘Handbook for realising the human rights to safe drinking water and sanitation’ which provided practical content on how to implement the rights to water and sanitation.

Other relevant issues that received attention were human rights related to sexual orientation and gender identity, human rights in the context of debt and vulture capitalists, the right to development, local governments and human rights, and the protection of civil society space.

For a detailed report on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights at the 27th session of the Human Rights Council see HERE.

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Advocacy Update on Rights to Housing, Land and Access to Productive Resources

The Global Initiative for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights is pleased to announce the second in a series of updates highlighting in particular important advancements in the areas of housing, land and access to productive resources, as well as touching upon other social rights such as the human rights to water, sanitation, food and education.   This publication, on  Advocacy Update on Rights to Housing, Land and Access to Productive Resources, is meant to help inform advocates, policy makers, civil society organizations and other stakeholders about recent developments in the field, and draw attention to emerging areas of work.

It also includes a special ‘IN FOCUS’ section on ‘The impact of privatization on the human right to education.’

We hope that this publication will be a useful resource for you and that it helps to raise awareness of the many advancements that are taking place at international, regional and national levels.

Access the current Advocacy Update on Rights to Housing, Land and Access to Productive Resources HERE.

The previous Advocacy Update on Rights to Housing, Land and Access to Productive Resources can be found HERE.

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UN Human Rights Council Social Forum: Right to Development

The GI-ESCR participated in the Social Forum held by the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva in October 2011 which focused on the 25th Anniversary of the Right to Development.  A presentation was made by the GI-ESCR which emphasized how strategic litigation and other forms of legal advocacy can support the human rights-based approach to development, which also provides the means by which rights holders can shape the definition of human rights standards from the perspective of marginalized or vulnerable groups as well as hold actors accountable to those standards.  The GI-ESCR recommended increasing the use of legal advocacy as a means of enforcing the right to development; to support universal ratification of international human rights treaties, especially the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights; and to find ways to better utilise the treaty bodies’ periodic review process to monitor the human rights based approach to development.  As concerns the post-2015 MDG framework, the GI-ESCR suggested that in order to truly promote the right to development, it was crucial to expressly incorporate the human rights-based approach to development as an explicit and central pillar of the post-2015 development framework.

The intervention and following interactive dialogue resulted in the Social Forum concluding that “Normative frameworks were already in place in relation to many of the elements of right to development: existing human rights mechanisms and provisions needed to be utilised and right to development had to be invoked more routinely through employing strategic litigation and legal advocacy.  This would provide the means by which rights holders can shape jurisprudence from the perspective of marginalized or vulnerable groups and thus help define human rights standards and hold actors accountable.”

The intervention and following interactive dialogue also resulted in the Social Forum adopting as one of its six recommendations that “Debates on achievement of MDGs and any post-2015 development vision must explicitly incorporate multi-dimensional aspects of the right to development and all human rights.  There is a need to focus on implementing existing human rights obligations at the core of development agendas.”

Read the Statement of the Global Initiative for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights to the UN Human Rights Council’s 2011 Social Forum on the Right to Development

Read the Report of the UN Human Rights Council’s 2011 Social Forum

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