90th Treaty Body Session – Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights
Geneva, Switzerland, May 16-18th: Representatives from the Women’s National Housing and Homelessness Network, Keepers of the Circle – National Indigenous Women’s Housing Working Group, and the National Right to Housing Network will be advocating for children’s right to adequate housing and raising Canada’s violations in this regard during the 90th Session of the United Nations (UN) Committee on the Rights of the Child. Canada’s compliance with the Convention on the Rights of the Child, for which it is a signatory, will be reviewed by the UN Committee over two sessions which have been shortened because Canada did not attend in person.
Nevertheless, the federal government will be questioned by the UN Committee and will virtually report on its progress in reaching safe and healthy living conditions for children, including adequate and affordable housing. Civil society groups have submitted detailed observations and evidence regarding human rights violations happening among children from Indigenous and other marginalized families based on gender, race, and economic status, and UN representatives will use these submissions to hold Canada accountable, particularly regarding the housing crisis among Indigenous children whose rights are affirmed in Bill C-98, Jordan’s Principle, the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and the Calls for Justice of the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls Inquiry.
“Every child deserves a safe and adequate home—particularly in such an affluent country like Canada,” says Sahar Raza, Project Manager of the National Right to Housing Network. “The housing crisis facing Indigenous, low-income, racialized, and lone-parent families with children is an unacceptable violation of human rights including the legislated right to housing.”
”Having grown up in public housing I am aware of many of the problems that exist within the current housing system and where solutions can be implemented,” says Katłįà Lafferty Co-Chair of the Indigenous Women’s Housing Working Group at Keepers of the Circle. “Our government must take immediate action by applying Indigenous-led approaches that are outside of colonial housing policies.”
“Children from marginalized communities continue to suffer the most severe consequences of inadequate housing across Canada,” says Dr. Kaitlin Schwan, National Director of the Women’s National Housing and Homelessness Network. “The federal government has legislated the right to housing—it is time we made this law meaningful for children.”