Mr. Jorge Arzave Orihuela, a member of the Association of Neighbors in the low-cost urban housing complex of Lomas de San Francisco Tepojaco, Mexico state, is a leading activist in denouncing the violation of the residents’ rights to adequate housing and to a healthy environment.
The 11,000 units that make up the complex, built by three private companies with authorization of the state government, were not constructed to the promised specifications. Since 2003, the year in which the houses were occupied, they have revealed structural flaws, cracks, sinking and water leaks, putting residents at risk. An aggravating element is the fact that the urban complex is located some meters away from a landfill, which represents a constant health risk for the nearby residents. Additionally, the roads, sewers, potable water pipes, and other structures have suffered damage due to the fact that they were built, along with the complex, on inappropriate land. The residents of the complex have filed complaints before the local, state and federal authorities. However, the authorities have favored the construction companies and failed to guarantee the right to adequate housing.
In view of this situation, Center Prodh has accompanied Jorge Arzave since 2008 and helped bring the case to the attention of international bodies, such as UN rapporteurs. Jorge has received numerous threats and acts of harassment due to his defense of the right to dignified housing.