Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF)

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

WILPF Advancing Human Rights Committee Action Alert

Posted by Mary Bricker Jenkins, WILPF Advancing Human Rights Committee

Please join your colleagues and friends in participating in this important event! As we well know, across the country hundreds, if not thousands, of children are removed from their families (or not returned) because there is not safe, affordable housing for the families. Others fear losing their children. Others are homeless. Let’s help make a public issue of these private troubles.


The United Nations will hold a Regional Consultation on Women and the Right to Housing in North America with UN Special Rapporteur on Adequate Housing, Miloon Kothari. The Consultation will be held on October 15-18, 2005, at Yale Law School.

Your active participation is needed to make this consultation effective and useful for women around the world. Below, we list five concrete ways in which you can become directly involved. We encourage you to engage in as many as are possible for you and to contact us about them as soon as possible.

1. RECOMMEND THEMES FOR THE CONSULTATION. The consultation and the testimonies given will be organized around four or five broad themes of special relevance to North American women. We have identified six potential themes, but welcome your ideas on whether these most accurately reflect the special concerns of women in North America:
i) Violence against women/Intimate partner violence and housing
ii) State apprehension of children due to inadequate housing
iii) Discrimination in access to and retention of adequate housing
iv) Forced displacement and housing evictions
v) Physical and emotional dangers faced by homeless and inadequately housed women
vi) Aboriginal women and housing / Indigenous housing

Given space and time constraints and the dynamics of the consultation, only 20 women will be able to give direct oral testimony at the consultation. We need your help in identifying grassroots women who, based on their own experiences, can best represent the issues that affect women’s right to adequate housing in our region. Please let us know your recommendations!

3. COLLECT WRITTEN TESTIMONY FROM WOMEN. In order that the voices of as many women as possible can be heard (not just the twenty chosen to provide oral testimony) a larger compilation of written testimony, from as many women who are willing to participate, will be submitted to the Special Rapporteur for inclusion in his final U.N. report. We will also assemble these written testimonials in a formal publication related to the consultation for further use in domestic advocacy efforts. The testimonials will additionally be submitted to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights to aid human rights promotion efforts at the regional level. We need your help to encourage and assist as many women as possible to turn their housing experiences and struggles into a form of testimony for the consultation. The testimonials can be as short as one paragraph to as long as several pages. While any and every form of written testimony is valuable, we attach a housing rights violation report form that may be useful in helping women plan or organize their responses. If you need help on where to begin, we have a range of experts on our consultation planning team — lawyers, social workers, organizers and others who you can call on for help at anytime. A form to complete when compiling documentation is available from housingwomen_un@yahoo.com.

4. PROVIDE IDEAS FOR MEDIA OUTREACH AND PUBLICITY. Key to the consultation will be getting domestic and international media attention drawn to it. For this to occur, we need your ideas and suggestions, your proposals and direct assistance!

5. PROVIDE OTHER IDEAS AND RESOURCES. Everyone’s ideas, perspectives and experiences are essential and we welcome any and every idea you have to improve the effectiveness and usefulness of the consultation. Please send us your ideas! Also, if there is a way that you can assist with resources (e.g., media, publicity, photocopying, organizing) please let us know. Everyone is welcome!

We look forward to working with you closely in preparing for and undertaking this important event to illustrate the extent of housing rights violations against women in North America and to advance overall, the fundamental human right to housing. Please feel free to contact anyone on the Planning Team for more information on this important Consultation. Please also send all of your ideas, recommendations, thoughts and written testimonies to us at:

Email: housingwomen_un@yahoo.com
Fax: +(312)-280-4526

When replying, please indicate if you are in Canada or the U.S.


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