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Global Call on the World Day for the Right to the City: Stop Forced Evictions

Source: Global Platform for the Right to the City (published on the occasion of the World Day for the Right to the City, last 31 october)

The Global Platform for the Right to the City members, friends and allies from all around the world, gathering in Nairobi, Kenya, declare the 31th October of every year the World Day for the Right to the City and make a global call for the right to the city, and the universal opposition to forced evictions and displacements that are dramatically impacting both on our urban and rural communities.

Forced evictions are a gross violation of legally recognized human rights. According to international standards and commitments, such as the General Comments 4 and 7, national and local governments (including Executive, Legislative and Judiciary powers) are asked to (1) take preventive measures; (2) ensure sufficient protection; and (3) guarantee that safeguards of all human rights are taken prior, during and after evictions. Forced evictions are a threat to a peaceful and decent life. Forced evictions cause terror and suffering for the most disadvantaged, with devastating consequences for children and women[i].

One year ago, at the Habitat III conference held in Quito, 197 states approved the New "Urban” Agenda, where they reaffirmed their commitment to prevent arbitrary forced evictions and displacements and provide dignified and adequate reallocation[ii]. States also recognized that property and land in cities and human settlements must fulfil their social function, a fundamental component of the right to the city[iii].

Nevertheless, despite those commitments, these gross violations are still happening all over the world. The New Urban Agenda embraced the Right to the City vision, understood as the right of all inhabitants (present and future; permanent and temporary) to use, occupy, produce, govern and enjoy just, inclusive, safe and sustainable cities, villages and settlements defined as common goods. Forced evictions, fuelled especially by the unlimited development, are a clear threat to that shared vision.

Today, as a Global Platform integrating a broad range of institutions and actors,we express our solidarity with the people who face forced evictions, displacements, and loss of their homes, lands, and livelihoods.

Today, we salute the courage of hundreds of organizations, as well as the consistency of national governments and local authorities when they protect human rights legally recognized, and their different but relentless struggle around the world for the right to the city and social justice in urban and rural areas.

Today, and according to our different roles and competences, we commit to work together to denounce and urgently stop Forced Evictions, and to support the affected communities.

In this sense, we - social movements, non-governmental organizations, networks and forums, academic institutions, public sector, local authorities, foundations and international organizations- urgently call upon states to respect their commitments under the global agendas and human rights treaties, guarantee the social function of land and property, implement the right to the city and immediately prevent and remedy forced evictions.

We welcome the UN Special Rapporteur's commitment on this front and call upon UN Habitat to assume urgently its responsibilities, providing the tools needed to deal with forced evictions, in particular by reintroducing the "forced evictions” indicator in the " Slum Index” and restoring the UN Habitat Advisory Group on Forced Evictions, with concrete capacity to intervene.

We will continue monitoring and denouncing the forced evictions as gross human rights violations. We will also continue mobilizing to defend our territories and livelihoods.

STOP FORCED EVICTIONS AND DISPLACEMENTS!

RIGHT TO HOUSING AND RIGHT TO LAND NOW!

RIGHT TO LIVE WITH DIGNITY AND IN PEACE IN OUR COMMUNITIES!

RIGHT TO THE CITY FOR ALL!

Source: UCLG Committee on Social Inclusion, Participatory Democracy and Human Rights 

October 31 marks the first anniversary of the Habitat III commitments. We'd like to propose this day as the World Day for the Right to the City. Every October 31 we'll remind governments of their commitments to ensure equity, resilience, sustainability, social justice and respect for the environment in human settlements.

We invite you to join and share this call on your social media using #StopForcedEvictions and #RighttotheCity. If you or your organization wish to subscribe the call, please send an e-mail to contact@right2city.org"

[i] The right to adequate housing (Art.11.1): forced evictions : 20/05/97. CESCR General comment 7

[ii] New Urban Agenda, pars 31, 107 and 111.

[iii] idem, par. 13 a)