There is no doubt that we are living in extremely challenging times. Multiple crisis encompassing widespread Human rights violations, rocketing inequality, environmental destruction and weakening democracies now affect the living conditions of the vast majority of the population around the world. Globalized corporate powers keep criminally pushing forward the commodification of all forms of live and the aggressive privatization of the common goods, while undermining the public sphere and polarizing our communities at an un-precedent scale.
In such a context, the strong voices and long-standing transformative experiences of social movements and civil society organizations are more needed than ever. Despite the extremely difficult conditions under which they are mobilizing and working, I am convinced that HIC Members and its Allies at local, national and international level have a great deal to contribute to a shared vision for a more just and sustainable planet, strengthening the commitments and hope that the new generations are claiming from us all. The struggle to guarantee every person’s right to a place to live with dignity and in peace is necessarily entangled with the pursue of social justice, self-determination and an ethics of care: that conviction is a guiding principle for the strategic networking and collaborations we pursue, inside and outside our Coalition.
As daily media coverage and electoral debates at both the national and municipal level evidence, inadequate housing conditions and housing affordability are back at the forefront of the political agenda. This certainly represents an important opportunity, but not without risks. Our collective knowledge, institutional intergenerational memory and critical approach are crucial factors if a full range of options and the active engagement of affected individuals and groups are going to be taken into consideration.
In few words, that means putting housing and land rights at the center, which include not only the provision of four walls and a roof but adequate services, facilities, location, accessibility and security of tenure. Because over and over again, in the Global South and in the Global North, we are called to confronting states that do not respect their obligation to refrain from evictions, displacements, raising rents and other such violations. Moreover, and in compliance with the goals set by the Agenda 2030 and the New Urban Agenda, this will imply reviving indigenous and traditional techniques as well as prioritizing the use of local and renewable materials.
The following pages provide a rich account of the continuing efforts that HIC and its partners are undertaking to defend, promote and realize the wide range of Human rights related to habitat, in urban and rural areas, in every region. While the signs for growing concern, despair and fear are everywhere around us, this report seeks to highlight the reasons to believe in our cooperative and caring capacity to persist building another world,