Friday, May 15, 2009

UN Advisory Group on Forced Evictions

In 2004 UN-HABITAT responded to the problem of evictions of squatters, low-income renters, indigenous peoples and other vulnerable groups with inadequate or no legal security of tenure by establishing the Advisory Group on Forced Evictions (AGFE) that reports to the Executive Director of UN-HABITAT. The Advisory Group’s mandate is to monitor forced evictions and to identify and promote alternatives such as in situ upgrading and negotiated resettlement.

On May 14 I chaired a meeting in Committee Room 3 to hear from a UK group which is reporting to UN-Habitat on the evictions of Gypsy, Roma and Traveller groups throughout Europe, and has been looking at some instances of threatened evictions in London and the Home Counties. In the picture below, I am with some of the residents from Dale Farm, Basildon, who attended the meeting. The Council wants to evict them, but hasn't offered them anywhere else to live. Fortunately, it will be several years before they can do so lawfully, and in the meanwhile Basildon, with every other local authority, will be obliged to designate enough land to accommodate the Travellers who are now on unauthorised sites. The report by the UN team should give this process a boost.

No comments: