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Department of Public Information (DPI)
29 April 2004
PRESS BRIEFING BY SPECIAL RAPPORTEUR ON ADEQUATE HOUSING
It was time to examine the United Nations agenda regarding adequate housing, especially in light of the United States-led war on terror, which was diverting attention from the basic rights to housing, health, food, and education, Miloon Kothari, Special Rapporteur on Adequate Housing for the Commission on Human Rights, told correspondents today.
At a Headquarters press briefing on his mission to Afghanistan, Kenya, the occupied Palestinian territory and Peru, he said that Peru and Kenya had no housing programmes or policies to meet the needs of the bottom 20 to 25 per cent of the population, and evictions had taken place, particularly in Kenya. As a result of his mission, both countries had halted the evictions and were now looking to reorient resources. A major problem in Peru had been an emphasis on land tenure, to the exclusion of access to water and sanitation.
Regarding the occupied Palestinian territories, the Special Rapporteur expressed particular concern about house demolitions and land confiscations. In 2003, there had been an acceleration of land confiscations by the Israeli authorities and the hoarding of water resources in the settlements. Some 28,000 homes had been demolished, making 13,000 to 16,000 Palestinians homeless between December 2002 and December 2003. That serious problem had not received sufficient attention, he noted, emphasizing the impact of that situation on women and children. Recent research had shown that the psychological effects of the demolitions and confiscations included frequent bouts of night terror, inability to concentrate, bedwetting among children and eating disorders.
Responding to a series of questions about occupied Palestinian territories, he cited Israeli violations regarding settlement expansion, the separation wall, continuing land confiscation and house demolitions.
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