The Department of Law and Legal Studies is very pleased to announce that the upcoming Chet Mitchell Memorial Lecture will be delivered by Leilani Farha, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Adequate Housing.

Time: Tuesday, February 26, 2019,  6:00 – 8:00 pm

Location: Dunton Tower, room 2017


Corporate Capture of Housing and Human Rights

Housing is at the centre of an historic structural transformation in global investment with profound consequences for human rights. Unprecedented amounts of global capital are now being parked in housing or acquired as security for financial instruments that are traded on global markets. Homeownership and rental have been rendered unaffordable for low or moderate income households in many cities, effectively displacing people out of their homes, communities and cities. Surprisingly, very little attention has been paid to the need for enhanced human rights accountability and remedies in relation to the activities of corporate investors in housing.


Leilani Farha, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Adequate Housing, the world’s top watchdog on housing, has set out to reignite the idea that housing is a social good not an asset or commodity.

In the role since 2014, Farha has presented reports to the UN on homelessness, and the treatment of housing as a commodity and its consequences for people who are poor as well as the middle class. She has recently issued reports to guide States and other actors in meeting their commitments under the Sustainable Development Goals. Farha has traveled to India, Egypt, Chile, and Portugal among other places to investigate whether governments are meeting their human rights obligations with respect to housing. Farha launched a new initiative called The Shift, a global movement which calls for everyone to approach housing as a human right, not a commodity.

A lawyer by training, Farha has worked to advance the rights of poor and marginalized groups throughout her career. She is the Executive Director of the NGO Canada Without Poverty and was instrumental in launching historic constitutional challenges to government inaction in the face of rising homelessness and to government restrictions on free expression of charities in Canada. She was awarded an honorary doctorate by a Canadian university in recognition of her work, as well as the Barbra Schlifer Award for her commitment to advancing women’s rights.

A light reception will accompany the event.

Please RSVP here.