On July 5th, in the context of the 163rd period of sessions of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR) held in Lima, Perú, TECHO made a presentation during the public hearing “Right to Housing in the Region”.
Highlighting the cases of México and Colombia, TECHO talked about the ineffectiveness in exercising the right to housing and the resulting violation of other human rights within the framework of informal settlements.
With this, TECHO exposed the reality of poverty and exclusion of these settlements, which it defines as “the most extreme expression of inequality in the Latin American territory.” According to data published by UN-Habitat, more than 104 million people currently live in informal settlements in Latin America, which represents 1 out of every 4 people who reside in urban areas.
We hope that with this presentation the IACHR will recognize this issue and the governments of the region will begin to address the problem with a sense of priority.
“It is important to emphasize that this is the reality of one fourth of the urban population, a reality that cannot continue to be denied by our governments and society. With ample protection of the right to housing in legal documents but with little real access to it, it is visible that those living in informal settlements also have limited access to justice”, stated TECHO Legal Director and representative, Renata Escudero.
Débora Vera, of TECHO México, pointed out that the Mexican government does not recognize the population in informal settlements and that “without a proper instrument, the settlements will continue to be invisible and subject to multiple violations of human rights.”
Representatives of community leaders Luisa Polo (La Pedrera settlement, Perú) and Oscar Zapata (El Faro settlement, Colombia) were also present at the hearing. They concurred that public policies “must be developed with—not only for—the residents of the settlements, because, more than clients of the government, we are change agents for society.”
The entire session (in Spanish) can be seen on Youtube, just click here.