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Subscribe the Declaration of the First Conference for the Right to Adequate Housing in Tunisia!

During the World "Zero Evictions – for the Right to Adequate Housing for All” Days organised around the world during the month of October, under the auspices of the International Alliance of Inhabitants, the first Conference for the Right to Adequate Housing was held from 24 to 27 October 2013 at the École Nationale d'Architecture et d’Urbanisme in Sidi Bou Said, underscoring the achievements of the World Assembly of Inhabitants (FSM Tunisia 2013). Several representatives of civil society organisations and specialists from both Maghreb and around the world participated.

We all have the Right to Adequate Housing!

The Right to Housing is one of the most important natural and social rights. It is enshrined in international conventions and treaties that have been ratified by the Tunisian authorities, such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

The Right to Adequate Housing does not mean having four walls and a roof. It is the right of every man and woman, youth and child, to live in his or her own home, in a community, in security,in peace and dignity, whether in the city or the countryside.

Unfortunately this right has not been put into practice. The harsh reality of the situation has been ignored by the various governments, with no real attempt to understand the state of the housing situation, which remains dilapidated and marginalized, even since 14 January 2011. In fact, the authorities have not made any effort to repair or change anything, but have only succeeded in aggravating the tragic situation we have before us today.

Under the logic of capitalism cities mushroom at the expense of the countryside, promoting bids and megaprojects and grabbing of land, water and natural resources, destroying the ecosystem that forms the link between these two areas. This is done within the framework of the dominant discourse, which considers that urbanization is inevitable and agricultural industries are able to eliminate hunger and poverty.

Many alternatives have been proposed by the people, and it has become necessary to strengthen solidarity between rural and urban movements to form national and international alliances to work together to apply pressure and have a real effect on the situation.

This first Conference for the Right to Adequate Housing has made ​​recommendations to implement the social principles that are the basis of the popular revolution, namely the right to dignity of all citizens, both male and female. 

Recommendations of the first Conference for the Right to Adequate Housing

Tunis, 24th to 27th October 2013

We, the citizens, civil society actors and inhabitants of this country, on the occasion of the first Conference for the Right to Adequate Housing to make this Right a national priority, have decided to create an independent, common, united and legal platform made up of inhabitants, experts, citizens and civil society organisations, to develop, adopt, implement and monitor policies and projects for adequate housing, in partnership with public institutions, using effective legal, technical, financial and administrative mechanisms.

To this end, we propose and require the following:

  1. The entrenchment in law of the Right to Housing that is Adequate and worthy, including enforceability, as per the legal obligations undertaken by the Tunisian State when it ratified the international conventions, and most notably the ICESCR.
  2. An unconditional guarantee by the State to grant access to information, especially economic and social, to all concerned inhabitants and civil society actors.

Regional and local monitoring centres should use this information to help with issues such as the following:

  1. Identifying and diagnosing problems: precarious and marginalised neighbourhoods; real numbers of homeless and evicted people and their living conditions; private and public housing left standing vacant for a long time; real estate fraud and speculation.
  2. Alerting on cases of violations of the Right to Adequate Housing, particularly evictions, in order to work together with other organisations to bring responsible parties to justice and find appropriate solutions that conform to the ICESCR.
  3. The approval and implementation of legislation to guarantee the social function of property and keep prices at an affordable level (rent, purchase), through state and citizen control of the real estate market. The fact that there are properties standing vacant means the injustice suffered by those in poor or precarious living situations and the homeless could be brought to an end.
  4. Decentralisation of powers to local and regional level to promote governance and participation of all concerned actors, including inhabitants, civil society organisations and experts.
  5. The approval and implementation of a law to invigorate social housing as a public service, both subsidised by the state and managed by local communities and/or in partnership with a system of inhabitant cooperatives run on social and solidarity-based economic guidelines, and acting as property developers, owners and managers of affordable housing providing a guarantee of security and equality for all.
  6. The approval and implementation of a law that secures the use of housing and land, promoting participatory rehabilitation of medinas and dilapidated neighbourhoods, respect for human and environmental rights and prevents evictions and speculation.
  7. The implementation of laws criminalising fraud, pursuing those committing it with severe punishments.
  8. Auditing debt owing because of agreements concluded after 14 January 2011, in particular any that is incompatible with the principle of social justice, adding to State funds and thus relieving the burden of taxpayers.
  9. The State should find the resources necessary to subsidise the housing deficit, by prioritising it in the Finance Act and awarding funding to local communities, to subsidise housing policy based on the respect for human rights, in particular by cancelling external debt (see Kenya-Italy example).
  10.  Mobilising affected actors, particularly inhabitants and local authorities, to urgently renovate buildings and living spaces that have been sitting vacant for a long time, using the legal framework and its loopholes.
  11. The approval and implementation of adequate laws that bind the State to open housing and integration shelters to accommodate homeless children, women and men, as well as the elderly and those with special needs, and to renovate public buildings such as university residences and retirement homes, respecting all legal specifications laid out in the relevant international treaties
  12. The approval and implementation of a law that binds the State to provide all students, for the duration of their studies, with a housing subsidy or adequate housing espousing modernity, functionality and accessible rent, creating optimal conditions for success in their university studies. 
  13. Strengthening and developing the international and Maghreb platform created on 29th March 2013 during the World Assembly of Inhabitants (WSF Tunis 2013), thus creating a group to promote the interests of the Maghreb Alliance of Inhabitants within the International Alliance of Inhabitants and social organisations in Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco. The aim of this platform is to promote exchange and strategies to build strength in solidarity for the fight for the Right to Housing that is Adequate and worthy of all inhabitants, particularly migrants, and political influence on a local and global level, especially in Arab Maghreb and the Mediterranean basin.

We declare …

Our solidarity with the struggles of resistance and promotion of alternatives within inhabitants’ organisations in rural and urban areas.

We will resist together and demand an end to all forms of criminalisation of the struggles of social movements and activists committed to upholding and implementing human and collective rights to housing, land, cities, water, food, employment and public goods.

And we invite …

all inhabitants, civil society organisations and experts to sign this Declaration and support the initiative for a better Tunisia!

Declaration of the First Conference for the Right to Adequate Housing in Tunisia (Arabic, 2013) >>> Download

Signataires de l'appel (29)

  • NOUWE TCHOUALACK Armand Athanase, Article 55 - Cameroon
  • Mansouri Mohamed, Ibsar - Tunisia
  • Roberto Faggio, Unione Inquilini - Italy
  • Ben Slama Soha, Alliance Internationale des Habitants - Tunisia
  • Bayar Zouiten Yosr, GIZ - Tunisia
  • Hassen Anis, Expert Environnement - Tunisia
  • Kahloun Hatem, Expert - Tunisia
  • Ben Nasr Jamel, - Tunisia
  • Meddeb Jalel, Association Tunisienne de l'Education Civique - Tunisia
  • abbess Khalil, Etudiant Sciences Sociales - Tunisia
  • Mahouachi Ramzi, Etudiant Sciences Sociales - Tunisia
  • Belghith wahiba, جمعية النهوض بالشباب الريفي - Tunisia
  • Mansour Thouraya, AF 14 Janvier F - Tunisia
  • Hedhli Mohamed Slim, CAWTAR - Tunisia
  • Moussa Najet, Association AF 14 janvier F - Tunisia
  • Khlifi Chihem, ACDM Metlaoui - Tunisia
  • Baklouti Malek, CAWTAR - Tunisia
  • Cesare Ottolini, Alliance Internationale des Habitants - Italy
  • Zaida Machuca Inostroza, - Chile
  • OSMAN Hichem, Amnesty International - Tunisia
  • Guiga Saloua, CTunisieoalition pour les Femmes de - Tunisia
  • kamdem mathieu, maitres pour l'habitat et la mutualité - Cameroon
  • mansouri sofien, association de defence de demandeur demploi - Tunisia
  • bourguiba imen, association tawassol - Tunisia
  • SALHI SAID, SOS EXPULSIONS Ligue Algerienne pour la Defense des droits de l'Homme LADDH - Algeria

United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights