Sunday, October 25, 2009

What Does U.N. Have to Do with U.S. Housing Crisis?

According to New York Times, the United Nations has assigned an official to investigate the U.S. housing crisis. Ms. Raquel Rolink, UN Rapporteur on Housing, is to make sure people have "adequate" housing in the on-going crisis, particularly in places like New York City.

Affordable? U.N. Puts a Questioning Eye on New York’s Housing
(10/23/09 New York Times)

"Everybody knows New York City is an expensive place to live. But the United Nations wants to know if affordable housing is so tough to come by that it actually violates human rights.

"The United Nations has assigned an official, “a special rapporteur on the right to adequate housing,” to check the city’s affordable housing. The rapporteur, Raquel Rolnik, is to tour the city for the next three days with housing advocates and city officials to “hear the voices of those who are suffering on the ground,” she said.

"The United Nations Human Rights Council appoints a rapporteur, or independent experts, to investigate human rights conditions around the world. In the case of Ms. Rolnik, a professor of urban planning at the University of Sao Paulo in Brazil, her “mission” is to tour New York City and six other places in the United States and to report back to the United Nations General Assembly about housing rights violations and advances.

"After that, “We send off letters to governments to ask, ‘Is this true? What’s going on?’ and to please intervene,” she said."

(You can read the entire incredible article by clicking on the link above.)

The United Nations, after her reportage, will formally declare housing as a basic human right in the United States and elsewhere (Ms. Rolink is already saying that, as you see in the video below). That's my guess. Just like health care is a basic human right, as some people claim. Therefore, the state has to step in to ensure everyone has the equal right to housing and punish the violators, regardless of the economic situation.

What I want to know is: Who invites these people like her?

You can see Ms. Rolink in this video clip. She seems to have a bubbly personality (or her meds are conflicting with each other).


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