By a resolution of the UN General Assembly in 1985, the first Monday in October of each year is commemorated as World Habitat Day or World Homeless Day. On this occasion, various movements and organizations that defend and promote habitat related human rights around the world make themselves heard to strongly claim that national, regional and local governments respect, protect and fulfill these rights. Habitat International Coalition, the Global Platform for the Right to the City and their Members take this opportunity to redouble individual and collective efforts to realize social justice, land and housing rights, and the right to the city for all.
Human rights to adequate housing and land and the right to the city are still beyond the reach of more than one billion people in rural and urban areas around the world, including at least 100 million living in the streets. Women and men, girls and boys, visible minorities and marginalized groups and entire communities fall outside the current public policies or, even worse, suffer every day from all kinds of violence from both public and private actors.
Because of this injustice, all those who stand in defence of the human rights to housing, land and right to the city, have adopted these dates to remind fellow citizens of the millions who do not have decent housing or opportunities to access land in most countries.
In the framework of World Habitat Day, the United Nations, international organizations and governments are showcasing the actions they are taking to reverse this situation, but we believe that much more has to be done.
In recent years, the struggle for habitat human rights has been the cause of persecution and criminalisation by powerful forces that treat land, housing and the city as commodities. Figures for 2018 indicate that 164 persons defending their habitat and environmental rights were murdered, with Latin America being the most dangerous region with a total of 83 deaths, a figure that is constantly increasing. This conforms with a shocking global trend that saw land defender killings triple from 2015 to 2016.
As stated in the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, authorities in all spheres of government bear the obligation to take all the necessary measures to bring an end to these murders, incarcerations and threats, to provide adequate justice and to protect those who defend not only the rights of people and the territories they inhabit.
Today, Habitat International Coalition and the Global Platform for the Right to the City launch a campaign to promote and protect habitat defenders.
We join forces in order to bring global attention to the violence suffered by those that stand up for our rights to housing, land and right to the city. That is why we invite all movements and organizations to share cases of defenders, especially women, who are under threat so that we can raise awareness and solidarity around the world.
”For the right of all people to a safe place where they can live in peace, dignity and harmony with nature”.
Link to share cases:
Violation Cases (ongoing list)