Across the globe, privatization, development, conflict, and war have dispossessed and forcibly evicted over 8 million people within the past three years. These are the findings of the Housing and Land Rights Network (HLRN) of Habitat International Coalition (HIC) issued today, on the occasion of International Housing and Land Rights Day 2007.
HLRN’s report Housing and Land Rights Crisis ! 2007: Violations Escalating around the World report, draws on data from HLRN’s Violation Database, which documents the patterns of forced eviction, demolition, and land confiscation. This has been coordinated with the mapping efforts of HIC’s activist General Secretariat, which is providing a graphic depiction and contextualization of the housing and land rights violations contained in the VDB [http://www.hlrn.org/welcome_violation.php]. A second HIC Housing Rights Crisis! 2007 map goes further, giving special recognition to evictions in situations of conflict, occupation, and war, with their intractable features of forced eviction and displacement. HLRN coordinator Joseph Schechla announced the new annual report, noting that ”The responsible parties who carry out these evictions now are liable for reparations to many thousands of displaced persons throughout the review period marked by this World Housing and Land Rights Day.” The report represents a new method of tracking violations of housing rights and forming one step in a process emphasizing the interconnection of seemingly disparate factors; development, conservation, privatization, forced evictions, demolitions, and dispossession.
The Cairo, Egypt-based Network also issued an extraordinary report today on the global backlash against housing and land rights activists. A Pattern of Persecution: the Growing Attack against Housing and Land Rights Defenders catalogues in brief an increasing global trend of physical violence, imprisonment, mistreatment, and murder of housing and land rights defenders. Country-specific cases highlight how patterns of privatization, corruption, and urbanization underlie the brutality of governments and contracted criminals in suppressing the dissent of victims of violations and their advocates. According to this HLRN report, the persecutions cov