Special rapporteur Miloon Kothari conducted a mission in Afghanistan during the period from August 31 to September 13, 2003, invited by the Islamic Management of Transition, to examine the status of housing and access to land. The mission visited the Cities of Kabul, Kandahar and Jalalabad and rural zones of Kabul, Kandahar, Nangarhar and Parwan.

The rapporteur dialogued with international agencies, the government and the local civil society in order to identify practical solutions in a country that recently left a conflict that had a duration of 23 years and that was facing a situation of lack of housing and access to land for the more than 2 million refugees that had returned from Pakistan and Iran.

During the mission, the rapporteur noted a significant number of problems that required settling to ensure the right to housing, among them land occupation, destruction of houses, sewage networks and water sources. This was due to the two decades of conflicts and the regular occurrence of forced evictions without compensations or alternatives. In addition, there was speculation with money, supposedly coming from the cultivation of poppies and marijuana, invested in real estate, which increased prices dramatically and caused the housing to be unaffordable.

The rapporteur stated that the settlement of the housing problem in Afghanistan would demand transformations in all system levels, with the fight against corruption and the lack of efficiency of the government and of the judiciary branch, facing of the irregular land occupation by powerful citizens and investment in essential services such as water and sanitation for the largest portion of the Afghan population.

The rapporteur’s recommendations included the development of a national policy of housing and access to land, the suspension of forced evictions, the development of monitoring mechanisms and the strengthening of the then newly-established Litigation Resolution Court.

The rapporteur also emphasized the need to invest in a focus that contemplates the assurance of rights and needs of women in relation to the housing and the land.

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