No national law, policy or programme to ensure homeless to have access to housing: UN Expert

By Accommodation Times News Services

Homeless IndiaUN Special Rapporteur on right to adequate housing, Ms Leilani Farha, during her official visit to India spoke on the right to adequate housing. She was very much concerned for the urban homeless poor and how they have to face exclusion, discrimination, evictions and homelessness, she said, “I am extremely concerned for the millions of people who experience exclusion, discrimination, evictions, insecure tenure, homelessness and who lack hope of accessing affordable and adequate housing in their lifetimes.”

She said, both the Central and state governments fail to collate any kinds of data on the number of households evicted each year even as estimates by civil society groups show that the as many as 2.50 lakh people have been forcibly evicted from their homes in urban areas between 2010 and 2015.

She urged for a national housing legislation in both national and international human rights commitments. Adding over to it she said, “There is no national law, policy or programme in place to ensure homeless people have access to medium and long-term housing options, homelessness should be addressed with a view to eliminating it by 2030 in keeping with of targets underlined in the Sustainable Development Goals.”

She found a contrast between vast number of pavement dwellers and rapid development of luxury real estate and called for an effective national housing legislation to address implementation of right to adequate housing.

Ms Farha visited India on the invitation of the government.

During her fortnight visit to the country, she visited New Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore and interacted with several government officials, residents, civil society and academicians. She said the issue of adequate housing would be addressed, if the country develops a national housing legislation in accordance with the Constitution and international human right laws. She also praised the government’s commitment to address the living conditions of the slums by developing 20 million housing units in urban areas by 2022.

The UN expert also warned that large scale migration from rural areas to urban would make India primarily an urban society in the next 30 years due to mounting inequality.

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