2017-2018: Leilani Farha

About Leilani Farha Leilani Farha

Leilani Farha was appointed UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Housing in June 2014. She is also the Executive Director of Canada Without Poverty, a national anti-poverty charitable organization based in Ottawa. A lawyer by training, for the past 20 years Leilani has worked both internationally and domestically on the implementation of human rights for the most marginalized groups.

In Canada, Leilani worked on housing rights issues as the Executive Director of the Centre for Equality Rights in Accommodation (CERA) for 12 years. In that capacity, she helped to launch a historic legal challenge seeking the implementation of UN recommendations for addressing homelessness as a violation of human rights. Internationally, Leilani has actively participated in a number of missions around the world to examine housing and living conditions of marginalized communities and to assist in developing policy responses for the implementation of human rights. Leilani is known as a dynamic and effective advocate for economic, social and cultural rights and for promoting legal protection and access to justice for these rights. She has researched and published widely on issues related to housing rights, including on forced evictions, and securing land and housing rights for Indigenous Peoples. As a central dimension in all her activities, she has worked extensively on women's economic, social and cultural rights.

Leilani has been recognized for her leadership on housing and women's rights, receiving the 2013 Spirit of Barbra Schlifer Award and an honorary degree from Mount Saint Vincent University in 2015.