Two human rights experts* expressed their deep concern in a statement on Monday at the recent modification of a law approved by the Peruvian Congress, which penalizes the rental of homes to migrants without regular immigration status with heavy fines.
“Housing is a human right of all people, regardless of nationality and immigration status. No one should be forced to be homeless,” says Balakrishnan Rajagopal,special rapporteur on the right to adequate housingand Felipe Gonzalez Morales,special rapporteur on the human rights of migrants.
“Migrants and refugees, like any other person, must be protected against evictions and have access to housing that allows them to live with dignity,” they add.
Estimates indicate that in Peru there are more than 650,000 people without formal residence status. Thousands of them risk homelessness if landlords who provide them with accommodation are fined.
“Sheltering a large number of migrants and refugees in Peru is challenging, but criminalize landlords who rent homes and accommodation for undocumented migrants will make the situation even worse“said the experts.
Cost for Peruvians too
The legislative decision will not only affect hundreds of thousands of migrants, but also thousands of Peruvian families that depend on rental income.
The experts had raised last year that the legislative reform did not comply with international human rights treaties, since it “puts the human rights of the migrant and refugee population in the country at risk.”
Last week, the Ombudsman’s Office filed a lawsuit of unconstitutionality, arguing that the new legal provisions do not comply with the state’s human rights obligations.
“We urge the Constitutional Court of Peru to guarantee that the right to adequate housing for all people is respected in the country, without any discrimination,” the experts conclude.
*The experts who sign the statement are: Balakrishnan Rajagopal,special rapporteur on the right to adequate housing. He is Professor of Law and Development in the Department of Urban Studies and Planning at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT); Felipe Gonzalez Morales,special rapporteur on the human rights of migrants since 2017. He is a professor of International Law at the Diego Portales University, in Santiago de Chile, where he also directs a Master’s Degree in International Human Rights Law.
The Special Rapporteurs are part of what is known as Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system, is the general name of the Council’s independent investigative and monitoring mechanisms that address specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. . The experts of the Special Procedures work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent of any government or organization and provide their services in an individual capacity.