Community ParticipationNairobi, 20 April 2015 – In the sidelines of the 25th session, UN-Habitat hosted a session on ‘Human Rights in Cities and Cities for All’ which discussed human rights in the context of sustainable urbanization.

With a focus on the role and mandate of UN-Habitat within the framework of Habitat III and the Post-2015 Agenda, discussion centred on the vital components of participation, non-discrimination, equality, accountability of governance and empowerment of communities. Speaking at the event, Alioune Badiane, Director of UN-Habitat’s Programme Division, emphasized the importance of affordability as one of the components of the right to adequate housing.

Uchenna Emelonye, who is a senior human rights advisor for the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), stressed that the human rights-based approach needs to be applied to housing policies and plans, and that they must be inclusive and non-discriminatory.

The Right to the City

Maureen Bahati, who works for GROOTS (Grassroot Organizations Operating Together in Sisterhood), shared her experiences on how to involve civil society and build claim-holders’ capacity with regard to the right to adequate housing. Finally, Eduardo Moreno, Head of Research and Capacity Building at UN-Habitat, talked about the importance of ensuring that human rights principles guide the process of urbanization, in order to not leave anyone behind in that process.

Following the formal discussion of the topic, the panel answered questions from an eager audience during which the Right to the City was discussed at length. The panel clarified that it is an important social movement, particularly in Latin America, but that it is not currently an internationally recognized legal right.
Find more details in an interview with Uchenna Emelonye on the human-rights based approach here
Find more details in an interview with Maureen Bahati on civil society mobilization for inclusive cities here