Call to action: Housing and Land Rights Day 2005

Vowing that another world is possible for the 1.2 billion people with inadequate housing and more than 100 million who are homeless, the Habitat International Coalition (HIC) again calls for popular action in cities, regions and countries to affirm the “Right to Land and Housing Now”. Coinciding with the UN’s World Habitat Day, in October 2004 the HIC campaign mobilized 90 local actions in 31 countries on six continents the most extensive coordinated housing rights protest in history.

Throughout October 2005, local, national and regional organizations, social movements, NGO’s and academic institutions are called to organize public actions and events to denounce destructive impacts of neo-liberal development policies and economic globalization (such as: budget cuts, forced evictions, land speculation and privatization of social housing and utilities) on people’s housing and land rights across the planet.

Each organization would define the issues, demands and slogans for their country or city, emphasizing cutting edge local housing rights struggles which their organization is fighting for, and which will help advance their own issues locally. Local groups would be encouraged to organize an event that works for them within their resources and organizational culture, but with a press angle and preferably mass action or participation. Examples could include: a march or rally, an action to highlight vacant buildings or land, a press conference, release of a report on housing conditions/demands or a cultural activity.

For 2005, the HIC General Membership Assembly has voted to encourage participating organizations to raise adoption by the UN of the World Charter for the Right to the City proposed by HIC its global partners as a common theme or focus for these local actions.

HIC will post a special section in the Web Page which will list the specific actions by each participating organization, with links to the Home Page of each group where feasible for more information. As October approaches, participating groups will be able to print out a summary of actions planned across the globe for use with your local media.

If you are interested to be part of this initiative, please contact HIC General Secretariat Ana Sugranyes, acting campaign coordinator Michael Kane and HIC President Enrique Ortiz, or HIC regional focal points and networks.