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Egypt Slams UN Rapporteur’s Statement on Cairo’s Housing Policies

Egypt Slams UN Rapporteur’s Statement on Cairo’s Housing Policies

Friday, 7 December, 2018 - 10:45
United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Adequate Housing Leilani Farha, pictured April 2016. AFP
Cairo - Sawsan Abu Hussein
Egypt’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs condemned Thursday a recent report by UN’s Special Rapporteur on the right to housing, saying that it contained “baseless” allegations about the state’s housing policies.

Egypt has “invited the special rapporteur to visit the country from September 24 to October 3 as part of the government’s openness to cooperate with UN human rights bodies and to present the challenges faced by the government in providing suitable housing,” it said in a statement.

“Egypt was surprised by the special rapporteur’s attempts to fabricate facts and create problems in her meetings from the very start of her visit to Cairo even though the state had provided her with all the assistance needed for her to carry out her duties,” the statement added.

The UN rapporteur’s actions upon arriving in Egypt “raised suspicions that she deliberately intended to defame the country.”

“These doubts were confirmed after the rapporteur communicated with Qatar’s Al-Jazeera channel – which is known for its blatant support for terrorist organizations – immediately after the report was issued,” the ministry pointed out, stressing that the rapporteur’s actions “proved that the report was intentionally malicious and politicized, hiding behind human rights and fundamental freedoms.”

The UN rapporteur “deliberately downplayed and concealed the government’s unprecedented achievements in providing adequate housing for citizens and the progressive and bold decisions taken by the government to create a shift in housing policies to ensure decent living standards for citizens without discrimination,” the ministry explained.

It pointed out that the special rapporteur had seen the government’s plan to build some 600,000 social housing units, with 300,000 units already completed, given that five percent of the project units has been allocated to the disabled people. She had also seen the state’s plan to re-develop 46 unsafe slum areas inside and outside Cairo.

The Egyptian foreign office said that the rapporteur’s “irresponsible and untrusted” actions raised concerns about her neutrality.

It called on the UN Human Rights Council to take a “deterrent action against those who exploit their posts in politics.”

“Egypt strongly rejects this threat to halt the work of special rapporteurs with Egypt,” the ministry said, stressing that such decision was “entirely outside the rapporteur’s jurisdiction and is a violation of her duty”.

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