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Thread: UN: Tabloids Were 'Xenophobic' To Brazilian Bedroom Tax Inspector Raquel Rolnik

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    Default UN: Tabloids Were 'Xenophobic' To Brazilian Bedroom Tax Inspector Raquel Rolnik

    United Nations: Tabloids Were 'Xenophobic' To Brazilian Bedroom Tax Inspector Raquel Rolnik

    The Huffington Post UK By Tom Moseley
    Posted: 27/09/2013 13:52 BST | Updated: 27/09/2013 14:03 BST

    United Nations, GRANT SHAPPS, Raquel Rolnik, THE SUN NEWSPAPER, UK Media, UK Politics, Bedroom Tax, Raquel Rolnik Bedroom Tax, UK NEWS, UK News

    The United Nations has slammed the "xenophobic" British tabloids for the way they treated a Brazilian official who criticised the controversial 'bedroom tax'.

    In a statement to the Huffington Post UK, the UN said reports it had "slapped down" Raquel Rolnik were "pure spin" and attacked the "blizzard of misinformation" published about her visit.
    Rolnik's visit earlier this month infuriated the Conservatives and right-wing press as she gave an interview to The Guardian branding the policy "shocking".
    She was called a "Brazil nut" in some newspapers while the Mail said she was "a dabbler in witchcraft who offered an animal sacrifice to Marx".
    Conservative Chairman Grant Shapps wrote to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, demanding answers and accusing her of political bias.
    After a reply was sent to Shapps, The Sun reported that the "firebrand Brazlian leftie" had been "slapped down" by the UN in its response.
    Rupert Colville, a spokesman for the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, told HuffPost UK the UN would not usually release a copy of the letter, although the Tories were free to do so.
    He added: "But I should make it clear that the Sun's take on it - that the 'The United Nations has slapped down' Ms Rolnik - is pure spin.
    "There was no such intention whatsoever.

    The UN was highly critical of the tabloids "In the face of a blizzard of misinformation and personal abuse of Ms Rolnik, published in one or two other UK tabloids during and immediately after her visit, the letter to Mr Shapps simply corrects the factual errors that have been asserted about her status and her role as an independent UN expert, or 'Special Rapporteur.'"
    The letter pointed out that Special Rapporteurs carry out country visits to assess the enjoyment of human rights on the ground, and the UK has extended a "standing invitation" to any Special Rapporteur, he said.
    He went on: "Ms Rolnik’s visit was planned and organized over many months in consultation with the UK Government in compliance with these rules and procedures.
    "As in the case of all country visits, Ms Rolnik’s visit concluded with a press conference and a press statement, provided to the Government in advance, which indicate preliminary findings and recommendations.
    "The final report on the visit will be submitted to the Human Rights Council’s session next March in Geneva.
    "In short, there was nothing unusual or untoward about Ms Rolnik's visit -- apart from some of the reactions to it."
    The letter itself, published by the Guido Fawkes website, points out that Rolnik was neither a staff member of the UN and not appointed by the Secretary General, which is the same for other special rapporteurs.

    United Nations: Tabloids Were 'Xenophobic' To Brazilian Bedroom Tax Inspector Raquel Rolnik

    The original article (and she's RIGHT which is probably why the press that supports this ridiculous Govt scheme lambasted her!)

    Shocking' bedroom tax should be axed, says UN investigator

    Housing expert Raquel Rolnik says policy could constitute a violation of the human right to adequate housing

    The Guardian, Wednesday 11 September 2013

    Raquel Rolnik, UN special rapporteur on housing, right, with Anne Lear, a housing officer in Govanhill, Glasgow.
    Photograph: Martin Hunter for the Guardian

    The United Nations' special investigator on housing has told the British government it should scrap the bedroom tax, after hearing "shocking" accounts of how the policy was affecting vulnerable citizens during a visit to the UK.
    Britain's record on housing was also worsening from a human rights perspective, Raquel Rolnik, the UN special rapporteur on housing, said in a Guardian interview after presenting her preliminary findings to the government.
    Rolnik, a former urban planning minister in Brazil, said Britain's previously good record on housing was being eroded by a failure to provide sufficient quantities of affordable social housing, and more recently by the impact of welfare reform.
    After speaking to dozens of council house tenants in Britain during her visit over the past fortnight, Rolnik said she was particularly concerned by the impact of bedroom tax, officially known as the new spare room subsidy. The policy was introduced by the government in April, and is designed to charge tenants extra for under-occupying homes that are supposedly too large for them.
    Rolnik said she was disturbed by the extent of unhappiness caused by the bedroom tax and struck by how heavily this policy was affecting "the most vulnerable, the most fragile, the people who are on the fringes of coping with everyday life".
    During her visit she travelled to Belfast, Manchester, Glasgow, Edinburgh and London, visiting council estates, food banks, homelessness crisis centres, Traveller sites and new housing association developments. "My immediate recommendation is that the bedroom tax is abolished," she said.
    Rolnik has spent much of her five-year tenure as the UN's unpaid special rapporteur on adequate housing looking at human rights violations in countries including Rwanda and Kazakhstan. Appointed by the UN human rights council, the former minister with the centre-left Workers' party spent her previous mission this year looking at slum housing in Indonesia. But Britain's housing crisis was an equally urgent subject for investigation, she said.
    "I was very shocked to hear how people really feel abused in their human rights by this decision and why – being so vulnerable – they should pay for the cost of the economic downturn, which was brought about by the financial crisis. People in testimonies were crying, saying 'I have nowhere to go', 'I will commit suicide'."
    During interviews with council officials, she noted that they were struggling to cope with the fallout from the policy's introduction, not least because there was a shortage of single-bedroom properties into which tenants might downsize."It's so clear that the government didn't really assess the impact on lives when it took this decision … The mechanism that they have in place to mitigate it – the discretionary payment that they provide the councils with, it doesn't solve anything, it's for just a couple of months, and the councils cannot count on that on a permanent basis, they don't know if it's going to be available next year, so it's useless," she said.
    Historically, "the United Kingdom has much to be proud of in the provision of affordable housing," she said, but its reputation was "being eroded from different sides". The state had an obligation to "put in place safeguards to protect the most vulnerable and what I am seeing here is quite the opposite – the most vulnerable are having to pay for these cuts". The country was "going backwards in the protection and promotion of the human right to housing".
    Rolnik was due to meet Eric Pickles, secretary of state for communities and local government to discuss her investigation. She will present a report with her conclusions to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva early next year.
    The bedroom tax could constitute a violation of the human right to adequate housing in several ways, she said, if for example the extra payments forced tenants to cut down on their spending on food or heating their home. She said her conclusions should carry weight in British courts, where a number of legal challenges to the bedroom tax are under way. "It depends on how much the judiciary here takes into account the international legislation. In principle they should because the UK has signed and ratified the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights," she said, referring to the document which defines adequate housing as a human right.
    A Department for Work and Pensions spokesman said: "It is surprising to see these conclusions being drawn from anecdotal evidence and conversations after a handful of meetings – instead of actual hard research and data. Britain has a very strong housing safety net and even after our necessary reforms we continue to pay over 80% of most claimants' rent if they are affected by the ending of the spare room subsidy."

    'Shocking' bedroom tax should be axed, says UN investigator | Society | The Guardian

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    Elite Member sputnik's Avatar
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    the daily fail calling someone from the UN a crazy commie for being critical of the UK's right-wing policies? Shocking. I don't blame the UN for writing to correct all the errors in the the original article, that shit is so full of misinformation it's shocking.
    I'm open to everything. When you start to criticise the times you live in, your time is over. - Karl Lagerfeld

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    The whole initiative is akin to the poll tax of the 80s (if you need more info, dear reader look here: Poll Tax Riots - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia) except that they are hitting people that cannot defend themselves adequately, or even take legal action due to lack of funds.

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    Elite Member Kittylady's Avatar
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    The press (particularly the Fail) have been pushing the 'lazy, scrounging upstarts living the high life' angle against anyone on benefits for a long, long time so of course they were going to try and discredit the UN inspector. Can't have someone standing up for the jobless scum!

    The fact of the matter is that our local papers are reporting that over 1000 people here have fallen into serious rent arrears thanks to the bedroom tax and that a large number of evictions have taken place already. The sad truth is that the job situation in the town is dire and there are shockingly few single bedroom properties available. A lot of the people who are under occupying are in that situation because the local authority/housing associations offered them these too large properties because that is all they had available. Now the list of available social housing is bursting with three/four bedroom properties they can't fill while everyone is desperately fighting tooth and claw over the very few available one/two bedroom properties. The housing associations are LOSING money because they have larger homes standing empty. Even people who aren't on benefits and wouldn't be hit with the bedroom tax aren't jumping to take on anywhere with a spare room because the employment situation around here is shaky and they are scared of setting up a home only to be forced out of it if they lose their job or have their hours reduced to a point where they qualify for assistance with their rent.
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