Decrying the growing gap between the Millenium Development Goals declared by the United Nations and the realities of war, forced evictions and spiraling slum growth experienced by the 1.2 billion slum dwellers and more than 100 million who are homeless, the Habitat International Coalition (HIC) announced coordinated local actions for a “Right to Land and Housing Now” throughout October to protest the destructive impacts of neo-liberal development policies such as budget cuts, land speculation and privatization of social housing and utilities on people’s housing and land rights across the planet.
“Far from meeting the UN’s Millenium Development Goal of reducing slum dwellings by 100 million by 2020, the number of slum dwellers is expected to double to more than two billion families by 2030, according to the UN’s own figures. War, forced evictions and destruction of houses have accelerated, not declined,” stated by Enrique Ortiz, HIC President at the World Urban Forum, Barcelona 2004. This situation leads us to the challenge of building a sustainable model of society, which would be based on the principles of solidarity, freedom, equity, dignity and social justice.
The main issues that raise deep concern and lead to proposals between the social organisations and movements, NGO’s and other members of HIC are:
the massive scale of evictions in Asia,
the lack of basic services and of women’s rights to land tenure in Africa,
the need of legal and financial instruments to facilitate the housing production and management for and by the people in Latin America,
fighting against the increasing privatisation of social housing and equipment in Europe and North America,
denouncing of the social impacts inflicted by war and violence in the Middle East.
Throughout October, numerous local, national and regional organizations, social movements, NGO’s and academic groups in Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, Australia and North America will carry out public actions and events within the framework of the HIC campaign. HIC includes a list of actions or events organized by national and local housing rights groups in countries on six continents.