As part of an NGO Coalition from Argentina, that submitted a document to the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, Fundeps presented questions linked to the right to adequate housing.
Within the framework of the third reporting process to the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, a group of NGOs submitted a paper with initial questions for the State of Argentina. These questions will be addressed by the working group prior to the sessions taking place from 23 to 27 May 2011 in Geneva. After this first discussion forum the Committee, in exercise of the duties enshrined in the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), will submit a report of compliance with the obligations of this Covenant on behalf of Argentina. (The working agenda and reference materials, including that developed by this NGO alliance, can be found on the Committee website.)
A group of Argentine NGOs, coordinated by the Centre for Legal and Social Studies (CELS), developed this document raising deeper questions in response to the first report submitted on behalf of the Republic of Argentina. The questions particularly relate to rights recognised by the ICESCR such as labour rights, the right to education, the right to health or the right of access to adequate housing. Each of these rights are effectively Human Rights which generate corresponding obligations on the part of the Argentine State. The document seeks further information regarding the actions taken by the State and draws the Committee’s attention to situations that involve violations of these rights.
The contribution from FUNDEPS was made in respect of access to adequate housing (ICESCR Article 11). This section sets out, for example, that “the evictions are facilitated by a combination of policies that were already questioned by the ESCR Committee in their recommendations to the Argentine State in 1999. Not only were these policies not modified but many provinces took inspiration from them in order to sanction measures which facilitate evictions in their own regions”. Furthermore, it describes another problem in the sense that “in many cases, the location of social housing reinforces the residential segregation of the most disadvantaged sectors of society, depriving them of access to quality infrastructures and urban facilities”. It is suggested that “in order to develop inclusive and sustainable housing policies and to control the price of land and rents, it is vital to adopt a national planning and land use law and to regulate the right to private property”.
Finally, some of the questions in this section include:
1. What conventions determine the location of the new house building schemes in the framework of the Federal Housing Plan? What criteria are used to assign the housing and to decide the geographical distribution of the plan?
5. What measures does the State intend to adopt to limit the anticipated evictions under the procedural policies which govern civil eviction procedures and the offence of usurpation?
6. What measures does the Argentine State plan to adopt in order to avoid families being left on the streets by the evictions?
Martín Juárez Ferrer
Director – Clínica Jurídica de Fundeps
Translated by: Katherine Wingfield-Dobbs