Wednesday, June 30, 2021
Please find resources and a synopsis report from a National Strategy Meeting on Realizing the Rights to Food, Health, and Housing in the U.S., hosted by the University of Miami School of Law’s Human Rights Clinic and the Cardozo Law Institute in Holocaust and Human Rights.
The first half of the meeting consisted of short topical panels on the rights to food, health, and housing. Advocates from each of these fields shared strategies, lessons, achievements, and challenges and set the scene for the second half of the meeting, which focused on cross-cutting issues and opportunities for future collaboration. Potential joint initiatives identified included exchanging legal tools and models for transformation, shifting narratives from individual responsibility to structural causes and away from a scarcity mentality, disrupting our current system through direct action and political education, and challenging corporate power and the financialization of basic services. With regards to the last point on the privatization of basic services, the Global Initiative for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights just released a compendium, collecting the statements of United Nations (UN) treaty bodies on private actors’ involvement in health care, as a tool for advocates.
The meeting concluded with a panel discussion on the documentary film, PUSH, which investigates the increasing unaffordability of housing in cities around the world. The film features Leilani Farha, the former UN Special Rapporteur on adequate housing and Global Director of The Shift, launched with the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and United Cities and Local Governments to secure the right to adequate housing.
The Strategy Meeting has already inspired some action. Advocates in West Virginia and Washington, excited by efforts in Maine to enshrine the right to food in the state constitution, introduced their own right to food legislative efforts. To find out more about this growing movement, please see a recent article by Michael Fakhri, current UN Special Rapporteur on the right to food.