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Santo Domingo, International Workshop: Evictions, People’s Housing Funds and Collective Property Cooperatives

As part of the World Zero Evictions Days 2007 campaign, a wide variety of national and international institutions are organizing a workshop in Santo Domingo on Evictions, People’s Housing Funds and Collective Property Cooperatives. The aim is to highlight the progress of the creation of a People’s Fund for Housing and Land which is providing millions of people, who are subjected to housing insecurity and evictions in Peru and the Dominican Republic, with access to land and property deeds.

Pedro Franco, coordinator of the Zero Evictions Campaign, has expressed his hope that this workshop will contribute to social and political development, as well as a legal framework providing housing and land security, as around two million people in Santo Domingo alone are living in uncertainty and under the threat of eviction because they do not have the deeds to the land on which they live.
The workshop will take place on 3 and 4 October in the multipurpose room of the Teachers Cooperative, COOPNAMA, and will have the support of the Basque Government and the Swedish Cooperative Centre. There will also be social organizations, experts and members

The workshop was announced by Dominican institutions, the Housing Cooperative COOPHABITAT, the UASD Urban Institute, CIUDAD ALTERNATIVA, Red Urbana Popular (People’s Urban Network) and its assessors. It will be organized in association with the Zero Evictions Campaign led by the International Alliance of Inhabitants’ (IAI), the global network of inhabitant associations, cooperatives and social urban movements, which fights for rights to housing and land, and the eradication of inhabitant evictions’ from districts, shantytowns, colonies and communities across the whole world.

International participants will include Paul Maquet, Ester Àlvarez and Carlos Escalante from the CENCA Urban Institute of Peru. They will attend the workshop together with Andrés Antillano, an activist for Venezuela’s Urban Land Committees and the Uruguayan Gustavo Gonzàlez, head of the Swedish Cooperative Centre in Central America. During the morning session on 4 October, the aim will be to conclude the workshop by sharing the contents of the debates from 3 October with the authorities and guests.
The problem of housing concerns most of humanity. The United Nations estimates that there are more than a billion people who are homeless or living in bad housing conditions, 70% of them women; between 30 and 70 million children are living on the streets; 1.7 billion people do not have access to drinking water, 3.3 billion do not have any sanitation; hundreds of millions of people have become refugees because wars or ethnic cleansing prevent them returning home, they have been evicted following foreign occupation (Palestine, Kurdistan, Tibet, etc.) or economic mega projects have driven them from their homes. The problem is focused in the southern hemisphere, impoverished by foreign debts which often prevent the payment of social debt in countries that are in transition towards market economies, but also in industrialized countries where lack of housing hits the poorer classes, particularly migrants.

The IAI, therefore, promotes the formation of People’s Funds for Land and Housing financed by cancelling foreign debt. It should not be forgotten that the first result obtained by the Campaign W Nairobi W, as part of the Zero Evictions Campaign, was the complete cancellation of the Kenyan “debt” owed to Italy and the use of a large proportion of the 44 million euros to restore the Korogocho shantytown.

For these reasons, we can consider this initiative as an introduction to the Week of Global Action against Debt and IFIs (International Financial Institutions), taking place from 14 to 21 October 2007. The IAI strongly supports this action in order to reinforce its alliance with the anti-debt movement and social movements that fight for human rights and work towards constructing another possible world.

Programme of the International Workshop (Santo Domingo, 3 and 4 October 2007).
Info on the Zero Evictions Campaign.
Call for international solidarity: eliminate debt to house the poor people of the world
Appeal for unity of social urban units