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Together with inhabitants to defend the Right to Housing without borders

The International Alliance of Inhabitants welcomes the handover of the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Adequate Housing role from Raquel Rolnik to Leilani Farha.

We acknowledge and thank Raquel for her work to support the inhabitants’ organizations and social urban movements from all over the world, including those involved in the Zero Evictions Campaigns and for the Right to the City. Over the last six years, we have found her passionate and skilled commitment to be a solid point of reference, rooted in solidarity, in the fight to defend housing rights against neoliberal policies. We also pay tribute to her contribution to the development of alternative policies based on human rights, highlighting the importance of the role the public sector needs to play and the social function of property ownership.

In the same spirit, we welcome Leilani Farha, send her our best wishes and continue to pledge our support to the Special Rapporteur with a view to the battles needed, at all levels, to help the 60 million people facing evictions and to provide solutions to the more than one billion people without a home or adequate housing around the world.

Her first benchmark should be on the ground, listening to the victims and the rebels of real estate markets, social, gender-based and racial discrimination, wars and the small- and large-scale disasters that lead to violations of the right to adequate housing.

We must not forget her institutional role at the United Nations which unfortunately, and increasingly for certain sectors, is abandoning human rights principles. Having worked together in the UN Habitat Advisory Group on Forced Evictions, she should not forget its sudden dissolution by the same UN body.

It is for these reasons that her attention should be directed towards the dangers of the neoliberal approach that marks the Manifesto for Cities, the ideological foundation of the 2016 Habitat III  UN Summit.

On the other hand, the actions and alternatives proposed by grassroots organizations, international inhabitants’ networks and social urban movements should provide her with positive input. The success of the People's Alternative Urban Social Forum, as the alternative to the UN–Habitat World Urban Forum in Medellin, demonstrates the strength of this space of convergence towards the construction of the Urban and Community Way, essential allies in the defense of housing rights without borders.

We are pleased to invite Leilani Farha to the next stages of our work: the World Zero Evictions Days – for the Right to Housing in October 2014 and the World Assembly of Inhabitants during the 2015 WSF in Tunis.

The Volunteer translators for housing rights without frontiers of IAI who have collaborated on the translation of this text were:

Alison Smith, Philippa Bowe


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