Thursday, December 07, 2006
the worst in housing rights
Agence France Presse, 5 December:
Greece, Nigeria and the Philippines were named on Tuesday as the worst offenders for forced evictions and breaches of housing rights by the campaign group Centre on Housing Rights and Evictions. (visit http://www.cohre.org for details)
Unveiling its annual "Housing Rights Violator Awards," the group charged the three countries with "systematic violations of housing rights and (the) continued failure to abide by their international legal obligations."
In the Philippines, hundreds of thousands of people were displaced under government policies of "beautification" and "development," with most of the victims coming from the urban poor, COHRE said.
Infrastructure projects such as rail network redevelopment, and high-prestige events like the ASEAN summit, have been behind many such evictions, with the people in question often relocated to sites with "appalling" living conditions, it added.
In Greece, Roma gypsy communities "continue to face pervasive and persistent discrimination in access to housing," COHRE executive director Jean du Plessis said in a statement.
Police took part in 79 forced evictions of Roma communities in the first half of 2006, according to the Geneva-based group's Global Survey.
In addition, "the conditions in which these communities live are dehumanising and constitute a grave human rights violation by the Government of Greece," du Plessis said.
In Nigeria, over two million people have been forcibly evicted from their homes since 2000, and the COHRE said the government had "consistently neglected its responsibilites and violated its obligations under international law".
Nigerian civil servants were not safe from the threat of eviction, with 1,388 officials and their families forced by soldiers from high-rise blocks in Lagos in December 2005, as part of a policy to privatise government-owned housing stock.
COHRE also highlighted the efforts of seven Chinese human rights activists, who received the "2006 Housing Rights Defender Awards."
Jean du Plessis said the seven had displayed "exemplary commitment, courage and perseverance in their struggles for the land and housing rights of hundreds of farmers, workers, residents in China."