Miloon Kothari

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Miloon Kothari
Kothari in 2008
EducationMaharaja Sayajirao University
Columbia University (BA)
Pratt Institute (BArch)
  • Policy analyst
  • Policymaker
Known forUnited Nations Special Rapporteur on adequate housing (2000–2008)

Miloon Kothari is a scholar and activist[1] who served from 2000 to 2008 as the United Nations Special Rapporteur on adequate housing with the Human Rights Council.[2][3] From 2015 to 2022, he was the President of UPR Info.[4] He was convener of the Working Group on Human Rights in India and the UN (WGHR) from 2009 to 2014, an Indian human rights coalition that notably focuses on the Universal Periodic Review. He is the founder of the Delhi-based Housing and Land Rights Network (HLRN), which aims to work toward the "realization of the human rights to adequate housing and land."[5][6] He currently serves as a member of the UN Commission of Inquiry on the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and Israel.[7]

Kothari was also a visiting scholar at the Department of Urban Studies and Planning at MIT from 2013 to 2014. Kothari has published over 50 works on numerous areas in human rights, policy and law, and activism.[2]

Kothari, who trained as an architect,[1] received his B.A. from Columbia University.[8] He also holds degrees from the Pratt Institute and the Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda.[2][9]

Controversial Mondoweiss interview[edit]

In an interview with Mondoweiss in 2022, Kothari said about the Israeli occupation: "It’s been illegal from the beginning" adding "I would go as far as to raise the question of why [Israel is] even a member of the United Nations. Because… the Israeli government does not respect its own obligations as a UN member state. They, in fact, consistently, either directly or through the United States, try to undermine UN mechanisms".[10]

Kothari added "We are very disheartened by the social media that is controlled largely by–whether it is the Jewish lobby or specific NGOs, a lot of money is being thrown into trying to discredit us, but the important thing is our mandate is based on international human rights and humanitarian standards and that we are all seeking the truth".

In an article published on 29 July 2022, UN official Navi Pillay defended Kothari against accusations of antisemitism from pro-Israel groups and U.S. officials following his interview with Mondoweiss.[11]

Israel's Prime Minister Yair Lapid called on the United Nations to end its inquiry into the 2021 Israel/Hamas conflict following Kothari's comments.[12]


  1. ^ a b "Miloon Kothari". MLK Visiting Professors and Scholars Program. MIT. 2013–2014. Retrieved 3 August 2022.
  2. ^ a b c "Mr. Miloon Kothari, former Special Rapporteur (2000-2008)". OHCHR. Retrieved 7 June 2023.
  3. ^ "Harvard Graduate School of Design – Miloon Kothari, "Global Displacement: Why Architects and Planners Should Be Very Concerned"". Archived from the original on 14 February 2016.
  4. ^ "Miloon Kothari elected President of UPR Info". UPR info. Retrieved 7 June 2023.
  5. ^ "HLRN Team". Housing and Land Rights Network. Retrieved 3 August 2022.
  6. ^ "Nueva Delhi, en riesgo de convertirse en una ciudad 'apartheid' para los pobres | Solidaridad |". El Mundo (in Spanish). 18 January 2011. Archived from the original on 21 January 2011. Retrieved 2 August 2022.
  7. ^ "OHCHR | The United Nations Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and in Israel". OHCHR. Retrieved 28 July 2022.
  8. ^ "Columbia College Today" (PDF). Summer 2022. Retrieved 28 June 2022.
  9. ^ "Miloon Kothari: Independent Expert on Human Rights and Social Policy". The Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights. Retrieved 7 August 2022.
  10. ^ Kattenburg, David (25 July 2022). "'Apartheid' is not sufficient: an interview with UN Human Rights Commissioner Miloon Kothari". Mondoweiss. Retrieved 7 August 2022.
  11. ^ Arria, Michael (29 July 2022). "UN Commission of Inquiry chair defends colleague against antisemitism smears". Mondoweiss. Retrieved 1 August 2022.
  12. ^ "Israeli PM urges UN to disband inquiry into Israel after alleged antisemitic comments by investigator". The Jewish Chronicle. 1 August 2022. Retrieved 1 August 2022.