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Special Rapporteur on Adequate Housing as a Component of the Right to an Adequate Standard of Living

Please, read the general remarks about the special procedures first.

Rights and Intended Situations

Appointed in 2000, the Special Rapporteur on Adequate Housing evaluates the national situation of the right to adequate housing and other rights attached to it. He is in particular interested in non-discrimination and equality between men and women, in access to affordable housing, in real estates and basic infrastructure and in the problems of homeless and people concerned with forced eviction.

The Commission on Human Rights defined the mandate of the Special Rapporteur in its Resolution 2000/9 as follows: He/She “will focus on adequate housing as a component of the right to an adequate standard of living, as reflected in Article 25, paragraph 1, of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 11, paragraph 1, of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and Article 27, paragraph 3, of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and on the right to non-discrimination as reflected in Article 14, paragraph 2 (h) of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, and Article 5 (e) of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination”.

Implementation of the Procedure

Filing a complaint

The complaint must at least contain the following information:

  • Identity of the person(s) or organization(s) submitting the inquiry;
  • Full name, age, sex and place of residence or origin of the supposed victim;
  • Indication of as many details as possible (name, age, sex and place of residence or origin) if it refers to a group or community;
  • Date and place of the incident (approximately, if the exact date is unknown)
  • Detailed description of the circumstances of the incident under which the presumed violation took place;
  • Identity of the suspect(s) (name if known, title/position, presumed motivation);
  • As the case may be, measures taken at the national level (for example, if the police had been informed, in case that other national authorities are involved, as well as a possible position of the government);
  • As the case may be, measures taken at the international level (for example, if other mechanisms have been called up)

Information and complaints can be submitted (specifying the pertinent special procedure) to:

Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights
United Nations Office at Geneva
1211 Geneva 10
Fax:  +41 22 917 90 06
E-mail: urgent-action(at)
(Please specify which special procedure mechanism the complaint is addressed to in the subject line of the e-mail or fax, or on the cover of the envelope)

Consequences of the Complaint

Once the Special Rapporteur received credible information concerning violations of the right to adequate housing or other rights which are attached to it, he can address a communication, generally in form of a letter submitted by the High Commissioner for Human Rights, to the government concerned asking it to give information concerning the allegation and to take preventive measures or to initiate an investigation. The communications can deal with cases of individuals, groups or communities, the general trends and development of human rights violations in certain countries as well as draft law or law in force subjected to apprehension. The communications are generally made in form of “urgent appeals” or “letters of allegation”. When there are multiple mandates for one case, the Special Rapporteur can submit joint communications.

“Urgent appeals” are used to provide information concerning current or imminent violations. They are submitted to inform the competent authorities as quickly as possible so that these can intervene to stop the human rights violation or to prevent it.

“Letters of allegation” are used to provide information concerning violations which have already taken place and which have had irreversible consequences for the supposed victim. This type of communication is used, for example, when the Special Rapporteur receives information on violations which have already been committed.

With both types of communication, the Special Rapporteur asks the concerned government to take all appropriate measures to investigate and remedy the alleged violations and to submit the results of its intervention. According to the response, the Special Rapporteur can decide to pursue the investigation or to give recommendations.

Last change: 16.12.08 - 16:10