Habitat International Coalition Takes Action in Medellin


For release: Monday, April 6, 2014

Contact: Alvaro Puertas 315-788-7418

Isabel Pascual 315-276-5784

Marie Balloux

The Habitat International Coalition (HIC) – the
global network for the right to habitat and social justice – will have a strong
presence in Medellin, Colombia, and at the United Nation’s World Urban Forum
(WUF) from April 7 to 11. HIC will join
local groups for an alternative march on Tuesday, for debates at the Teatro
Pablo Tobon at the Universidad Nacional de Colombia “under the light of the
night”, Thursday events at the Museo Casa de la Memoria, as well as hosting or joining
in networking, training and roundtable events inside of WUF.

HIC kicked off its Medellin actions with a visit
Sunday to Commune 13, where local leaders told powerful stories of
community-initiated revitalization that gained city support, as well as ongoing
struggles to identify the graves of loved ones lost to military repression.

The World Urban Forum is an important milestone on
the road to the Third United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable
Development in 2016. HIC was formed at
the first UN Habitat conference in 1976. The collapse of private housing markets with
the global recession of 2008 has underlined the urgent need to realize a
rights-based agenda for human settlements. The work of HIC in Medellin will help ensure
that the voices of people who are leading this struggle are heard, and that
good practices and strategies are adapted.

“Many people around the world are struggling to defend
their rights to land, housing and the city from destructive market forces,”
says Lorena Zárate, President of HIC. “The global recession of 2008 was fueled
by the collapse in the US private housing market, and millions face forced
evictions and homelessness as a result. At HIC, we support the struggles of people
everywhere for the right to live in peace and dignity.”

HIC members will challenge the UN and state actors
to end forced evictions caused by war, occupation, civil conflict, and massive
private investment and infrastructure schemes, as well as the “silent
displacement” caused by land speculation and economic upheaval in both rural
and urban areas.

HIC activists and experts from more than 20 nations
in Latin America, Africa, the Middle East and North America will be available
for comment in a variety of venues this week.

* For details on HIC activities at WUF, click here.