Agenda Item 72(b): Promotion and Protection of Human Rights
Intervention by the Republic of Maldives to the Report by the Special Rapporteur on adequate housing as a component of the right to an adequate standard of living, Ms. Leilani Farha
Ms. Farzana Zahir, Joint Secretary
United Nations, New York, 22 October 2015
Thank you Distinguished Chairperson,
The Maldives would like to thank the Special Rapporteur of the Secretary General for her report and appreciate her work in this area.
Provision of adequate housing is one of the policy priorities of the Government of Maldives. It is also one of the basic rights enshrined in the Maldivian Constitution. The Government of Maldives has adopted social housing schemes as the best way to provide affordable housing to all. Population congestion has compounded the problem of affordable housing and adequate living standards. The problem is most severe in Capital Male’ which is barely two square kilometres and houses almost a quarter of the entire population. Given the constraints of developing the social infrastructure of all populated islands, the successive governments have been investing in building Greater Male’ which includes nearby Villingili and recently reclaimed Hulhumale adjoining the international airport’. Hulhumale’, reclamation initiated in October 1997, is is so far the most costly development project aimed to relieve housing needs and other basic services to the larger population. To date, the Government has built over two thousand six hundred housing units that have met the housing needs of over seventeen thousand people. The delegation would also like to note that the country’s vulnerability to climate change, and its adverse impacts, is a hindrance to the full enjoyment of human rights, including the right to adequate housing. This is the very reason why the Government’s policy framework in protecting the environment and on combating climate change takes a rights-based approach, that aims to properly manage the human dimensions of the issue.
My question to the Special Rapporteur is, you have highlighted how the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) failed to appropriately address the real issues concerning housing. And again you have raised a reasonable concern over the recently adopted sustainable development agenda, as many of the critical factors related to ‘the right to housing’ are not referenced in the specific goals. In your view, can the issues still be addressed appropriately while countries nationalise these goals and what would be the best way of going about it.