Special Rapporteur Miloon Kothari conducted a mission to Peru from March 03 to 15, 2003 and observed that the housing situation in the country was serious, with an estimated housing deficit of 1.2 million units.

During the mission, he received many testimonies concerning the difficulties individuals faced in obtaining legal titles to land and housing, poor access to water, and problems faced by those living in housing built in high risk zones, such as land slide areas caused by mining activities. He also identified families and communities exposed to air and water contamination.

The Rapporteur acknowledged the Peruvian government’s efforts and its willingness to tackle housing issues, but measures taken so far are insufficient to properly address existing challenges. For example, the several housing programs that exist did not provide any specific benefits to the people living in poverty, who make up 25% of Peru’s population.

The Rapporteur suggested that further attention should be dedicated to policies targeted at women and the poor.

The mission verified that the institutional framework to address the housing problems in the rural zones was significantly less developed than the health and education frameworks, despite the interdependence and interrelation between the right to adequate housing and the rights to health, water and food.

The Rapporteur also noted that there was no constitutional recognition of the right to adequate housing and requested the introduction of this right in an amendment to the Constitution. He also recommended more detailed studies on the impact of public service privatization, after finding many families that paid exorbitant electricity bills.

The Rapporteur commended positive steps, such as the standing invitation to receive missions from the UN ”Special Procedures” and the conviction of the Congress Housing Commission to give constitutional recognition to the right to housing.

The Rapporteur noted the effort of the Peruvians to transform their reality with few resources. The Rapporteur suggested the Peruvian government re-structure its focus on housing and access to land to give priority to programs that support community efforts and initiatives.

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