We frequently encounter the term ‘right to housing’ during protests or political debates. But what does term actually imply? According to article 22 of the Dutch constitution, the advancement of sufficient housing is a concern of the government, while in reality it is difficult to legally enforce this right. Influential court cases on housing, comparable to the Urgenda climate case, have not yet taken place. So the question is: What can we do to make the right to housing more tangible and applicable? And how do we ensure that this right also applies to undocumented people? This evening we ask several experts on the right to housing, both nationally and internationally, about the obstacles but primarily the opportunities that the current developments on the right to housing offer.

This event can only be attended physically at our studio. The recordings will be made available later on and can be viewed via dezwijger.nl/terugkijken or via our YouTube channel.

PLEASE NOTE: This event will be held in English.

This evening we discuss the various ways that the right to housing can be applied, from legal applications to policy or activism. What do we mean when we use the term? And how far have we gotten in reinforcing accountability? We will discuss both the international and the Dutch developments and try to formulate some concrete plans on how to proceed.

Leilani Farha (through Zoom) is a Canadian lawyer and global director of THE SHIFT. This housing initiative creates comprehensive framework providing governments and investors with guidance to effectively address the financialisation of housing in accordance with human rights law. Recently they published The Shift Directives, a comprehensive framework providing governments and investors with guidance to effectively address the financialization of housing in accordance with human rights law.

From 2014 to 2020 she was the United Nations special rapporteur on housing, when she focused on the relation of economic inequality to homelessness/inadequate housing. In this period she wrote the report Guidelines for the implementation of the right to adequate housing in 2020, providing states with measures in key areas of concern for solving challenges related to housing. She will talk about the report, give an update on where we stand and illustrate what this report implies for the individual national contexts.

Kim van Sparrentak (through Zoom) is a Dutch politician (Groenlinks) and since July 2019 a member of the European Parliament. In January 2021 the European Parliament adopted the report made by Kim van Sparrentak on Access to decent and affordable housing for all. This report calls on the European Commission to propose a strategy on affordable and social housing, ensure that housing rights are valued more than market interests, and end homelessness by 2030. She will reflect on the impact of this report, how it is implemented today, and what this report means for the accountability of EU member states to actively work on better housing policy.

Jan de Vries is a Dutch representative of THE SHIFT and will indicate the various ways in which the organisation is applying the right to housing. He made a measuring tool for political party programmes to indicate how they score on the application of the right to housing.

Rosa Beets is a human rights lawyer working for the Public Interest Litigation Project (PILP) of the Nederlands Juristen Comité voor de Mensenrechten (NJCM). There she works on creating strategic procedures on human rights in the Netherlands. This means that she strategically uses legal procedures to evoke social changes in society.

Hidaya Nampiima is a human rights activist from Uganda who has to live as an undocumented person in the city of Amsterdam. As an activist she acknowledges the intersections of different crises and has spoken at Dutch housing protests on the precarious conditions that undocumented people in the Dutch housing climate face.

Mustapha Eaisaouiyen co-founded the housing action group Recht op de stad, and led the fight against the demolition of the Tweebosbuurt neighbourhood in Rotterdam.