Global Housing Campaign from Oct 2007 to Jan 2008

Massimo Allamandola suburbanstudio at
Sun Aug 5 03:20:56 BST 2007

c/o Unione Inquilini, via Bettella, 2/ter - 35133 – Padova – Italy ph. 
++39 049691771 fax ++39 02700415592 e-mail : info at -

Zero Evictions Campaign :
international solidarity to achieve dignity and security in housing

Act together for housing for all!
Another World Is Possible 

We, inhabitants, social organizations and networks, and solidarity authorities, as part of the World Social Forum Mobilization on January 26th 2008, call for a global Housing Campaign from Oct 2007 to Jan 2008, to campaign against: 
* forced evictions and the violation of housing and land rights 
* financial speculation and corruption 
* the negative effects of the privatisation of land, housing, water and public services 

We are fighting for: 
* the inclusive city 
* dignified and affordable housing 
* security of tenure 
* the sustainability of our environment. 

Join the Campaign! 


International Alliance of Inhabitants Habitat International Coalition Local Autorithies Forum 

info at, hic at, fal at 

Rostock, June 1st, 2007 

Sign the Appeal for the unity of urban social movements

At this very moment, a billion people all over the world are either 
threatened with homelessness or living in bad housing conditions, due to 
large-scale investments of financial and real estate capital, social, 
economic and racial discrimination, wars and natural disasters. Instead 
of diminishing by 100 million by 2020 as laid down by Objective No. 7 of 
the Millennium Development Goals, this figure is destined to rise by 
another 700 million by 2020. The main cause is the subjection of the 
urban question to the neo-liberal dictates of the IMF and the World Bank 
which impose privatizations in the public service sector and cuts in 
social policies

To tackle this dramatic situation, the International Alliance of 
Inhabitants launched the Zero Evictions Campaign at the
4th World Social Forum (Mumbai, January 2004), to mobilize international 
solidarity, starting from the inhabitants directly concerned, in order 
to restore their hope of achieving dignity and security in housing.
The aim is to secure housing rights for all; no one should be evicted. 
If tenants have to be transferred, decent, secure alternative 
accommodation should be found in advance and with the agreement of the 
inhabitants concerned. This means respecting Article 11 of International 
Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, with particular 
reference to General Comment No. 4 of the UN Committee on Rights (1990).
To achieve this objective, the IAI has proposed the setting up of a 
common global space for all urban social movements in order to unify 
local, national and international initiatives. At the same time, it has 
invited the NGOs, networks involved in housing rights, and UN 
institutions to give the campaign their backing.
This is also the basis of the IAI representatives’ activities on the 
UN-Advisory Group on Forced Evictions (AGFE).

How ?
The Zero Evictions Campaign operates on several levels depending on the 
adhesion and mobilization of the local organizations concerned and the 
gravity of the situation:
• An international alert system with local “antennae” for violations of 
housing rights
• Appeals for international solidarity
• Proposals for exploratory missions and conciliation by the UN-AGFE
• Support for the exchange of experience of good practices by 
inhabitants’ organizations, local bodies, and other subjects for 
avoiding evictions
• Support for the drafting and monitoring of local, national, and 
international plans of action for security of housing tenure.

Where ?
At present, the Zero Evictions Campaign is active in:

Nairobi (Kenya) : 300,000 people are threatened with forced eviction due 
to infrastructure investments (motorways, railways, electricity lines). 
The W Nairobi W! Campaign has developed at both the local (mobilization, 
judicial appeals, meetings) and the international levels (thanks to a 
special web site, approx. 10,000 e-mails have been sent to all the 
institutions involved). The campaign was successful in stopping the 
forced evictions. The debate has now been opened on land reform and 
housing security which should be financed by a People’s Fund for the 
right to Land and Housing, where the resources of part of Kenya’s 
cancelled foreign debt should be channelled. Negotiations have also been 
opened in order to mobilize 45 million euros, freed up thanks to the 
conversion of Kenya’s external debt owed to Italy, to test out the Fund 
on two shanty towns.

Zimbabwe : In 2005, 700 000 people were evicted during « Operation 
Murambatsvina » (« throw out the trash ») launched by the government of 
Zimbabwe, but in reality, over 2.5 million out of 12.5 million 
inhabitants, including 300 000 children forced to leave school, were 
affected by this operationLocal mobilization, sustained at the 
international level by the Operation to re-establish housing rights in 
Zimbabwe have requested a halt in demolitions and evictions, and to 
establish a plan for improving conditions in the slums in agreement with 
the communities involved, as well as to cancel the foreign debt so that 
the resulting resources can be channeled towards the People’s Fund for 
the Right to Land and Housing. These initiatives have forced the 
international community to wonder about president Mugabe, the historical 
anti-colonialist leader, and send a United Nations envoy, to investigate 
the evictions.

Nigeria : At the end of 2005, President Obasanjo led one of the most 
vicious and massive eviction operations ever : more than 4 million 
people out of 7 million were threatened with eviction so that h could 
carry out his master plan for the capital city of Abuja. Furthermore, 
over 20.000 tenants of public housing projects in Lagos were threatened 
with eviction as part of the continuing campaign led by the Housing and 
Defense Ministries, who have decided to privatize the sector. Dozens of 
local associations and churches have responded the Break the Silence on 
evictions : defend housing rights in Nigeria ! appeal launched by the « 
Nigerian Coalition for Zero Evictions », which has demanded a halt in 
demolitions and expulsions, compensation and immediate alternative 
accommodations for the homeless, and condemnation of the privatization 
efforts and master plan for Abuja. This appeal has also requested the 
block of all foreign investments which ultimately result in the 
violation of human rights and that the funds resulting from the 
annulment of the country’s foreign debt be channeled towards the 
People’s Fund for the Right to Land and Housing.

Dominican Republic : 1 million people are threatened with forced 
eviction because of building speculation on the land where they live 
without good title. The campaign, which was launched on World Zero 
Evictions Day 2004, involved grass-roots organizations and the local 
government of S. Domingo; it is also supported by the government of the 
Basque countries. The campaign succeeded in stopping part of the 
evictions and helped to set up a table for dialogue and concerted 
action. Here again there are discussions about establishing a People’s 
Fund for the right to Land and Housing and a Habitat-coop has been 
created to offer valid alternatives The UN-AGFE has organized an 
exploratory and conciliatory mission (March 2005) ), but the violent 
evictions are continuing to be carried out, at times by paramilitary 
groups. For this reason, we intend to increase pressure by opening other 
fronts, including promoting the boycott of the tourist organizations 
implicated in the deal.
To be highlighted: the setting up of a coordination programme for the 
Zero Evictions Campaign in Latin America and the Caribbean at Coophabitat.

Italy : 600,000 people are under threat of forced eviction due to rent 
arrears or contract termination and the privatization of the public 
housing sector. The campaign has taken the form of resistance to 
evictions, important street protests, parliamentary initiatives, and the 
presentation of a dossier to the United Nations. Because of the 
campaign, the UN Committee on Rights has delivered a severe reprimand to 
the Government, while the UN-AGFE has set up an exploratory mission, the 
first in a G7 state (February 2005), resulting in the signing of a 
protocol in which the City of Rome has been declared “and eviction-free 
city”. On the other hand, mayors and presidents of many municipalities 
have requisitioned un-rented apartments. In January 2007 a partial 
moratorium on evictions was obtained. The fight continues.

France : 500,000 people are under threat of forced eviction mainly due 
to rent arrears. The campaign has included resistance, occupation of 
empty properties and contesting the demolition of the HLM (public sector 
housing). Some municipalities have declared their territories “eviction 
free” by decree. The campaign has forced the government to introduce 
rules for changing part of the eviction orders into new contracts, 
backing the approval of a plan for 500,000 public sector houses in 5 years.
The fires in many unsafe buildings in Paris, which caused dozens of 
victims during the summer of 2005, have underlined the need to continue 
mobilization at various levels. After the winter truce, the violent 
evictions have begun again, and consequently so have the protests

Croatia : After the dissolution of Yugoslavia in 1996, a law dating back 
to 1945, in which private lodgings could be perpetually inhabited and 
subsequently passed down to one’s heirs, was abolished by new 
legislation which eliminated that right. A wave of violent evictions 
affecting above all the poor and elderly citizens, followed the decree 
of the Constitutional Court which abolished the obligation to supply 
adequate alternative housing.
The Alliance of Tenants’ Unions and dozens of associations and political 
parties launched the “Campaign to Restore Tenants’ Rights to Security of 
Tenure“, requesting a halt to these evictions and the abrogation of the 
norms which are not in line with international treaties, so as to defend 
these citizens’ human and housing rights.. The On-line appeal, asking 
that international organizations apply pressure on the Croation 
Government, especially now that this country is negotiating its entry 
into the European Union has been signed by thousands of people so 
far.Appel en ligne qui a recueilli des milliers de signatures, demande 
aussi aux organismes internationaux de faire pression, notamment au 
moment où la Croatie est en train de négocier son entrée dans l'Union 

Dale Farm, Basildon (Britain) : This is the largest nomadic community in 
the United Kingdom, which has been housed in well-kept single and mobile 
homes rising on land owned by that same community, which used to be a 
dump for broken down cars. This independent community in which Gammon, a 
language with pre-celtic roots, is spoken has been threatened with 
“ethnic cleansing” by the Departmental Council of Basildon, which has in 
fact decided to destroy a great number of homes as a consequence of a 
particularly vicious campaign of the Tories against the Gypsies.
The Red Wheels in the UK Zero Evictions Campaign, supported by dozens of 
organizations and public figures, including Vanessa Redgrave, has 
demanded a halt in the evictions and has asked the government of the 
United Kingdom to establish an investigative committee and to abrogate 
the local norms which violate international treaties on human and 
housing rights.

Tamil Nadu, India: PASUMAI THAAYAGAM (Green Mother Land) has reported 
that a demolition drive by authorities has made around 30,000 people 
homeless in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India, including around 5,000 students.
The people who were living in the Porur Lake area were forcefully 
evicted without any prior notification or announcement. Between 23 and 
25 of November 2006 police personnel arrived in large number with earth 
movers and bulldozers to demolish all the settlements. It was 
particularly shocking for these people that such a thing could happen 
when all government officials had promised them full facilities and when 
the area had already been provided with a full electricity supply, a sub 
post office, and public call offices.
On December 2, 2006, the State Government formed panels at the State and 
district level to initiate time-bound action for removal of 
encroachments on Government land. So, about one million people are 
threatened by evictions waiting to happen all over the state of Tamil Nadu.
In this context, are launching a 'Campaign for Housing Rights and Zero 
Eviction' in Tamil Nadu, India.

The IAI has also sent messages of anti-eviction solidarity to: Lima 
(Peru), New Delhi (India), Karachi (Pakistan), Cebu and Manila 
(Philippines), Beijing (China), Quilombo, São Paolo, Curitiba and Porto 
Alegre (Brazil), Occupied Territory (Palestine), Nagoya (Japan), Bishkek 
(Kyrgyzstan), Barcelona and Seville (Spain), Hungary, Milan and Bologna 
(Italy), Port Said (Egypt, New Orleans (United States), Paraguay and 
Sochi (Russian Federation).

The Proposal of the Fund for the Right to Land and Housing

Forced evictions are often the result of large-scale investment, 
financed by rich countries, the IMF, the World Bank, in roads, railways, 
business centers, tourism, shopping malls, etc. in poor countries. 
Rarely is it a matter of providing the prime necessities for the local 
population; it is more a means of paying off the foreign debt. In almost 
all cases, the governments of the poor countries refuse to negotiate 
with inhabitants’ organizations to re-house the people concerned with 
their agreement. They claim not to have the necessary resources. In 
fact, those resources go to pay off the foreign debt.
We consider the foreign debt to be illegitimate, unfair and unpayable, 
whereas governments are obliged to pay the social debt. For this reason, 
at the American Social Forum (July 2004) the IAI presented to the 
anti-debt movement and Via Campesina a proposal to set up People’s Fund 
for the right to Land and Housing.

These are funds, controlled by inhabitants’ organizations and local 
authorities, into which resources of the cancelled foreign debt, in 
particular, would be channeled to finance public urban and housing policies.
The proposal was accepted by the Assembly of Urban Social Movements at 
the WSF 2005 and is now on the agenda of the movement for the 
cancellation of the debt by the G 8 (Edinburgh, July 2005). Recently in 
the light of the failure of the Millenium Objective, UN Habitat, several 
governments and the Parliamentary Assembly for the Habitat have approved 
this proposal.
Initial result: the conversion of the debt Kenya owes to Italy, with a 
major portion of the funds being allocated to improving two Nairobi 
shanty towns.

The proposal for « eviction-free zones

Local authorities are in the front line in coping with the negative 
consequences of forced evictions; often they have neither the legal nor 
financial tools to provide a satisfactory response for those affected.
In the belief that violations of Article 11 of the International 
Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights must be remedied, even 
if it means coming up against national law, in 2004 thirty or so French 
movements local authorities, co-ordinated by Bobigny municipality, 
declared their territories “eviction-free zones”. This triggered off 
harsh conflict with the central state powers, but, at the same time, has 
given anti-eviction movements institutional backing, enabling them to 
get some results.
Despite the suspension of the order by administrative tribunals, the 
mayors continued their support with other initiatives, for example a 
successful campaign against cutting off the water supply of those in 
arrears. In 2005 and 2006 a series of new anti evictions ordnances have 
been issued.
The proposal for “eviction-free zones” has also been approved in Italy, 
and Rome was the first city to be declared a “ zero eviction zone”.

Against privatization, for improving public services

The current wave of neo-liberalism is pushing for the privatizations of 
public services (water, energy, communications) and, in particular, the 
social housing sector, which is considered the new frontier for profit.
In Africa, Asia and Latin America an offensive has been launched, headed 
by the IMF and the World Bank, to impose privatizations as a 
pre-condition for the concession of loans, in order to place the 
financial capital freed by the collapse of the stock market.
If the European Union were to approve the Bolkestein Directive 
(March-July 2005) on the liberalization of services, approx. 18 million 
families presently living in public sector housing would find themselves 
in a privatized regime. In the United States, the social housing sector 
cuts, made to pay for the cost of the war, will jeopardize the security 
of tenure of the working classes

In former communist countries, including the Russian Federation, reforms 
in this sector will introduce tenants for the first time to the drama of 
forced evictions.
There is a close connection between privatizations and the loss of 
housing tenure security, which is perceived by inhabitants’ 
organizations in various countries. This why they are organizing 
initiatives at local and national levels to fight it.
It is a matter of opposing policies determined by neo-liberal 
globalization, and the IAI is promoting withn the Social Forums the 
establishment of committees for each continent to combat privatizations 
and re-launch the building of public housing.






Informations :
March 2007

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