More than 50 participants converged in Nairobi recently to exchange views, knowledge and ideas on the future role of UN-HABITAT with respect to preventing, monitoring and assessing the impact of forced evictions globally.
Participants at the International Expert Group Meeting on Forced Evictions, held in Nairobi in September 2011 © UN-HABITAT/Julius Mwelu
Drawn from across the globe, the participants included experts, observers, representatives of governments, and representatives of Permanent and Observer Missions to UN-HABITAT.
Organized in close collaboration with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, the meeting sought to shape and adopt common strategies to address the problem of global evictions and ways to promote and realize the full and progressive realization of the right to adequate housing. The exponents of the global housing and human rights community who had gathered at the UN-HABITAT headquarters were asked to elaborate on the future role of UN-HABITAT in the area of housing rights, including the right not to be forcibly evicted.
Experts at the meeting affirmed their readiness to provide UN-HABITAT with recommendations on the issue of UN-HABITAT's role in this field in the context of the Global Housing Strategy to the year 2025 and within the framework of UN-HABITAT's Adequate Housing for All Programme and the UN Housing Rights Programme,. These recommendations are based on information and experience that experts and their organizations attending the meeting have accumulated over many years, in many capacities, and with many varied constituencies from Asia, Latin America, Africa, Europe and North America.
A number of formal and consensus-based observations and recommendations to UN-HABITAT were presented at the end of the meeting. The experts recognized UN-HABITAT's progressive engagement on and commitment to socially inclusive and sustainable urban development and slum prevention and upgrading. It was suggested that UN-HABITAT has a unique role to play in its engagement with governments at both national and local levels and with other state actors, development actors, and multinational actors.
While reaffirming that the practice of forced evictions, and the lack of respect for the right to adequate housing, is a gross violation of human rights, the experts called upon UN-HABITAT to articulate its human rights mandate as a UN organization, especially the right to adequate housing and the right not to be forcibly evicted. This should be an integral part of UN-HABITAT's reports, programme work, and technical/financial support to states by, inter alia, clarifying the human rights perspective of current UN-HABITAT concepts, such as "public purpose", "illegality of slums", "cities without slums", "right to the city", and "socially produced property values".
The meeting provided an opportunity for all to share experience related to evictions and housing rights in various parts of the world and how different organizations report and implement alternatives to forced evictions. It was also a moment for UN-HABITAT to launch two studies focusing on the phenomenon of eviction, its impacts, modalities and motivations. . There was a consensus amongst the participants of the meeting that the Habitat Agenda provides a genuine rights-based approach to urban development and that various elements of that agenda should be revisited and be reassessed in the context of contemporary challenges.
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Click here for the consensus-based recommendations made by the experts.
Click here for the International Expert Group Meeting on Forced Evictions: Presentations, and audio-video recordings
Click here to view photos from the meeting
Click here for the UN-HABITAT Urban Dialogue on the rights based approach to development
Click here for interviews with EGM participants
Click here to download the report of the meeting