History of cities – Heritage
Right to housing
In 2010, the Special Rapporteur of the United Nations, Raquel Rolnik, has completed a mission in Kazakhstan about standard of living conditions and housing rights. In sintesis, her conclusions are (1) :
- The Government demonstrates its commitment and willingness to co-operate with the international human rights mechanisms in strengthening the promotion and protection of the right to adequate housing.
- Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, Kazakhstan has been making enormous efforts to address the challenges posed by the transition to a market economy and to promote economic and social development. An important component of this strategy has been the promotion of urban renewal and city beautification programmes, which have included the construction of a modern, world-class capital city – Astana.
- Kazakhstan has made significant planning efforts to provide urban land to private investors and to create a favourable banking system to attract commercial banks and financial institutions. The State has also promoted access to mortgage-based credit with the double aim of improving security of tenure and living conditions for many households while at the same time reducing their reliance on the State aid. This strategy was aimed at allowing low-income households to purchase property in the new housing complexes that were being built. However, the granting of credit to low-income households made them vulnerable to economic and financial downturns.
“The implementation of urban renewal and beautification programmes has resulted in a number of people being deprived of their homes and lands in the name of public interest. At times, the concept of public needs has been interpreted in a very extensive way by the public authorities to make urban land available to private investors. Individuals and families who have been living on a plot of land for decades have been expropriated in order to give way to the construction of luxurious apartment buildings, commercial centres and other development projects. In some cases, compensation provided to individual owners did not correspond to the actual value of the land after re-zoning, and was therefore not sufficient to allow the affected individuals and families to buy alternative accommodation in the area where they had been living.” (1)
- Housing and Land Rights Violation Database in each country (Housing and Land Network – HIC): http://hlrn.org/welcome_violation.php#.VD-IVCi7_vQ
- Zero Evictions Campaign (International Alliance of Inhabitants): http://www.habitants.org/zero_evictions_campaign
- Data sets on agricultural land grabbing in the world (GRAIN): https://www.grain.org/bulletin_board/entries/4429-new-data-sets-on-land-grabbing
- The Online Public Database on Land Deals – Global Observatory (Land Matrix): http://landmatrix.org/en/
In 2010, the Special Rapporteur of the United Nations, Raquel Rolnik, has completed a mission in Kazakhstan about standard of living conditions and housing rights. About vulnerable groups, her conclusions are (1) :
“I cannot but note the willingness demonstrated by the Government and the efforts it has made to mitigate the negative repercussions of the financial crisis on the effective enjoyment of the right to adequate housing. Such efforts include the creation of a national fund to facilitate the completion of constructions which had been slowed down or halted as a result of the financial crisis. As of today, several households have managed to receive their apartments as a result of Government intervention. However, many families are still waiting for their apartments to be completed.” But these measures, according to the Rapporteur, are inadequate to the needs.
Some interesting practices
SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC ASPECTS
Quality of housing
Informal housing / Slum / Homeless
In 2010, the Special Rapporteur of the United Nations, Raquel Rolnik, has completed a mission in Kazakhstan about standard of living conditions and housing rights. About homeless and informal housing, her conclusions are (1) :
“There is a high rate of demolition of houses and forced evictions that are carried out in the country without prior notification, any form of judicial control or review, or the provision of adequate compensation or alternative accommodation. I have heard reports, and seen documentary evidence of violence, of demolitions conducted by public officials using force, which occurred during winter, when the temperature was several degrees below freezing. In particular, I was struck to hear that a great number of vulnerable individuals, including pregnant women, children and persons with disabilities, have been made homeless as a result of the demolition of their dwellings.
The financial crisis of 2007 had an adverse impact on the right to adequate housing of the most vulnerable households – including large families, single mothers with young children and older people living on a State pension, to name but a few. I met several persons who had been evicted as a result of their inability to pay their mortgages, and others who had been deceived by private construction companies who fled with their lifetime savings without completing the construction of the buildings the shareholders had already paid for.”
“The realisation of large-scale development projects attracted a large number of individuals and families, who came to the main cities from the poorest areas of Kazakhstan as well as from neighbouring countries in search of employment opportunities and a better standard of living. This mass migration led to the construction of a number of informal settlements, sometimes built in environmentally protected areas or in areas prone to floods or earthquakes. People living in these settlements often lack the registration, which constitutes a pre-condition for having access to social assistance and State-funded housing.”
ROLE OF PUBLIC AUTHORITIES
Bibliography & Sitography
- NU, report from R. Rolnik, Special Rapporteur of the United Nations Human Rights Council on adequate housing, 2010 – http://direitoamoradia.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/statement-kazakhstan-en.pdf
FROM CIVIL SOCIETY
Civil society actors