An independent United Nations human rights expert today voiced concern about the increasing rate of violent evictions taking place in Argentina and called for a comprehensive strategy to tackle the country’s housing crisis.
In a news release issued at the end of her week-long visit to the country, Raquel Rolnik said she heard countless testimonies about violent evictions, often carried out by the State and on public land and without the possibility of relocation or compensation for affected families.
The evictions, she said, are increasing in both urban and rural areas and affect in particular the residents of informal settlements, as well as peasants and indigenous peoples.
“I’m very concerned about violent evictions taking place in various regions of the country and the lack of more comprehensive promotion of adequate housing in Argentina,” said Ms. Rolnik, the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to adequate housing.
She said that the “informal occupation” of land has become the main form of access to housing in the country due to the lack of affordable housing.
In addition, there is a growing phenomenon in various parts of the country of criminalization of people who occupy lands or buildings, and who are victims of growing stigmatization.
“Despite the significant budgetary commitment adopted by the Government since 2003 in response to the housing crisis, and the participation of provinces and municipalities in this effort, the imbalance between supply and demand has continued to increase,” she noted.
“This is partly due to State neglect of housing issues in previous decades. But the situation has deteriorated recently due to the economic growth that Argentina is experiencing and its direct effect on price increases for land, including urban land, housing and rents which have grown proportionately more than the income of most of the population.”
She also voiced concern about the weakness of the allocation system of the social housing programmes, which opens the door to discrimination, and has made the issue the object of political disputes.