World Habitat Day
From Europe to Africa, Amnesty International has documented how governments violate the right to adequate housing and carry out forced evictions of people living in slums and informal settlements, driving them deeper into poverty. Forced evictions often result in people losing not just their homes, but also their possessions, their social networks, and their access to work and services.
People living in such marginalized and impoverished communities, in both the richest and poorest countries of the world, talk of the same experiences of daily human rights violations.
Communities in Europe and Africa, separated by thousands of kilometres, have shared similar experiences of the threat of forced evictions, how they are not consulted on plans that affect their lives, how they have no remedies when their human rights are violated, how they do not benefit from the protection of laws and institutions that are available to others. They describe how they often struggle for access to the services they need – water, sanitation, education and health - to survive and live a life of dignity.
Every year on the first Monday of October, the world is asked to respect World Habitat Day and reflect on the state of our towns and cities. The UN has set the theme for this year as ‘Better City, Better Life’. For the one billion people who live in slums and informal settlements, this hope can only be realized if governments stop denying them their human rights.
Amnesty International has launched a series of focused actions in the last year on Cambodia, Chad, Egypt, Italy, Kenya, Romania, Serbia, Zimbabwe, amongst other countries. It has also launched two regional campaigns on forced evictions in Europe and Africa.
Better Cities, Better Life? Take action to make it more than a slogan.
The United Nations Human Settlements Programme, UN-HABITAT, is the United Nations agency for human settlements. It is mandated by the UN General Assembly to promote socially and environmentally sustainable towns and cities with the goal of providing adequate shelter for all.
UN-HABITAT's Regional Office for Africa and the Arab States (ROAAS) is based in Nairobi, Kenya.