Special Rapporteur Miloon Kothari conducted a mission to Brazil from May 29 to June 13, 2004 and was impressed with the demonstration of political will of the then newly elected government and the unprecedented support it obtained from civil society groups.

The challenges observed were significant, especially the situation of the homeless and the high housing deficit, resulting from historical discrimination against African-Brazilians and indigenous peoples, and the marginalization of the poorest Brazilians.

The report emphasized the fragmentation of the urban development and planning policies, the extreme income inequality in the country and the negative impact of privatization of essential utilities on the poorest populations.

The Rapporteur emphasized the need for quick progress in the implementation of the right to land, the urgency in carrying out agrarian reform, the importance of taking into consideration the relationship between access to land, rural poverty, urban poverty, and the need to elaborate affirmative actions for indigenous and African-Brazilian populations.

In particular, the Rapporteur called attention to the feminization of poverty and the need to ensure equal rights for women in relation to housing and land. He also emphasized the large extent of unsafe and inadequate housing in several urban and rural areas and the lack of the people’s participation in the urban planning and development process.

The Rapporteur made a series of recommendations, including the development of a national housing policy based on human rights, the reconciliation of macroeconomic and social objectives, the re-orientation of the existing housing programs to serve the poorest population, laws that facilitate and harmonize the granting of deeds, and high inter-ministry cooperation in areas such as the human rights of indigenous populations.

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