CWP ED Appointed UN Special Rapporteur on Housing

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – Thursday, May 8, 2014 

 CWP’s Executive Director Named as UN Special Rapporteur on Adequate Housing

OTTAWA:  The United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC) has just announced that Canada Without Poverty’s (CWP) Executive Director, Leilani Farha, has been appointed UN Special Rapporteur on adequate housing.

The Human Rights Council is the highest authority in the world on human rights, and as such Special Rapporteurs appointed by the Council play a critical role in ensuring rights are monitored and upheld. As a UN Special Rapporteur, Ms. Farha will be an independent expert responsible for globally monitoring the status of the right to adequate housing, responding to alleged violations of this right, and representing the United Nations on visits to review housing conditions in different corners of the world. She has been appointed for a three year mandate.

For the past 20 years Ms. Farha has worked both internationally and domestically on the implementation of housing rights for the most marginalized groups.  Within the United Nations human rights system, she spearheaded the creation of the first human rights standards on women and the right to adequate housing.  In Canada Ms. Farha worked for human rights in housing for many years as the Executive Director of the Centre for Equality Rights in Accommodation (CERA). In that capacity, she helped to launch a historic legal challenge defending the Charter rights of those who are homeless, currently before the Court of Appeal.  The case seeks the implementation of UN recommendations for addressing homelessness as a violation of human rights in Canada. As the current Executive Director of Canada Without Poverty, she continues to promote a human rights based approach to poverty in Canada.

“I am absolutely honoured and humbled to receive this appointment. I have long recognized the United Nations human rights procedures as being of tremendous practical and symbolic importance for those whose rights have been violated, in affluent and developing countries alike. The UN procedures also provide unique opportunities to engage constructively with governments on critical issues. As Special Rapporteur, I want to make sure others experience the value of the UN human rights system and continue to benefit from its role in the global community.”

Canada Without Poverty President, Harriett McLachlan responded to the news with congratulations and accolades, “Leilani embodies the principles of equality, inclusion, and fairness – values naturally associated with protecting and upholding human rights. Her expertise is widely  acknowledged  and CWP is incredibly pleased to hear of her appointment as UN Special Rapporteur.  We will be happy to support her as she moves forward with this mandate.”

The appointment of Ms. Farha as Special Rapporteur is an honour for Canada. She will be in the company of two other Canadian colleagues recently appointed: Chief Wilton Littlechild appointed as a Member of the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and François Crépeau, the UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants. Ms. Farha will remain based in Canada and will continue to work with CWP.


For more information contact:

Leilani Farha, Executive Director Canada Without Poverty: 1 (613) 302-7769

Megan Hooft, Director Education and Outreach: 1 (604) 613-1434


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