Croatia: UN expert to focus on housing rights in post conflict Croatia

GENEVA (1 July 2010) – UN Special Rapporteur Raquel Rolnik will visit Croatia from 5 to 13 July 2010 to assess housing rights in post-conflict Croatia. This will be the first mission to the country by an expert designated by the UN Human Rights Council to monitor adequate housing as a component of the right to an adequate standard of living, and on the right to non-discrimination.

“Croatia has faced many changes in the last twenty years that may significantly impact on people’s access to housing,” said Ms. Rolnik, who is visiting Croatia at the invitation of the Government. “As reconstruction and redevelopment housing policies become vital tools to respond to these challenges; the needs of low-income families and minority groups should remain at the center of such policies.”

The Council envoy will examine the situation in property restitution and housing reconstruction in post-conflict Croatia, as well as the question of privatization of socially-owned housing during the transition period, and housing re-development in the context of tourist expansion.

During her nine-day mission, the independent expert will have the opportunity to understand the challenges in the realization of the right to adequate housing in post-conflict and transitional processes, and to assist the Government to meet its obligations with respect to this right.

Ms. Rolnik will begin her visit in Zagreb before travelling to regions of significant destruction during the war, including Knin, Kistanje, Osijek, and Vukovar. She will meet with high level authorities from the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of Government as well as representatives of civil society, UN agencies and other international organizations to study the institutional, policy and legal framework regarding access to adequate housing in the country.

At the end of her assessment visit to the country on 13 July, the independent expert will hold a press conference at the United Nations Development Programme in Zagreb office (Radnicka Cesta 41/8).

Following her visit, the Special Rapporteur will present a report containing her findings and recommendations to the UN Human Rights Council.

Raquel Rolnik (Brazil) was appointed as Special Rapporteur on adequate housing as a component of the right to an adequate standard of living, and on the right to non-discrimination in this context by the UN Human Rights Council, in May 2008. As Special Rapporteur, she is independent from any government or organization and serves in her individual capacity. An architect and urban planner, Rolnik has extensive experience in the area of housing and urban policies.

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