Describing the impact of forced evictions as a “human tragedy,” a United Nations expert on adequate housing has called on all States to urgently halt the practice, including the so-called development-based evictions that are often justified as being linked to slum-clearance drives or in other ways serving the “public good.”
“Many contemporary cases of forced evictions, those without due process or the provision of, and access to, appropriate forms of legal or other protection, constitute a gross violation of human rights and indicate a systematic disregard of recognized human rights standards on the part of States,” Special Rapporteur Miloon Kothari told delegates at the World Urban Forum III gathering in Canada on Tuesday.
“One of the main priorities that should emerge from the World Urban Forum III is the urgent need for States to halt the practice of forced evictions and displacement.”
Mr. Kothari, who is an unpaid expert serving in an independent personal capacity, highlighted that forced evictions and displacements occur due to different reasons and are “taking place in countries world wide, ranging from democratic to authoritarian States.”
He also cited so-called development-based evictions, which include those that are often planned or done under the pretext of serving the “public-good,” such as large-scale infrastructure or other development projects.
“Most of these ‘development-based’ evictions have one or several common features that contravene recognized human rights standards…I call on all actors at the World Urban Forum to unequivocally oppose forced evictions as a means of achieving ‘development.’”
He said that generally, general rule, forced evictions affect the poorest, most vulnerable and most marginalized sectors of society and intensify inequality and social conflict, contributing to segregation, ghettoization and the creation of “apartheid cities” and rural settlements. “Above all, the impact on those affected can often be characterized as a human tragedy.”
The Special Rapporteur also said that the issue of the “global housing and living conditions crisis” that the world faces should be tackled in the context of achieving the antipoverty Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), “which should serve to focus worldwide efforts in overcoming the critical deficiencies in global development.”