[Hpn] [hic_mail] COHRE Press Release on Forced Evictions

Bret Thiele hic_mail@yahoogroups.com
Mon, 23 Jun 2003 23:01:19 -0000

Seven Million Left Homeless as Forced Evictions Double in Two Years

The worldwide rate of forced evictions has practically doubled in the 
last two years, leaving nearly seven million people ejected  often 
violently - from their homes, according to new research by the Centre 
on Housing Rights and Evictions (COHRE) in Geneva, Switzerland.    

This alarming trend has emerged despite a strengthening of 
international law provisions condemning forced evictions as 
violations of human rights. The vast majority of forced evictions, 
many of which are a direct result of government-led development 
projects, violate human rights laws which most of the world's 
governments have formally agreed to respect.

COHRE Executive Director, Scott Leckie said: "Although we now have a 
situation where international institutions such as the UN, the World 
Bank, and even some large corporations are much more wary about 
supporting projects which may involve forcibly evicting people, it 
seems governments simply haven't got the message yet.  They cannot be 
allowed to sign up to international law which forbids forced 
evictions on the one hand, while flagrantly violating it on the 

COHRE's Global Survey of international forced evictions in 60 
countries found that 6.7 million people were evicted from their homes 
between 2000-2002. This compares to 4.2 million during the years 1998-
2000.   Moreover it found that 6.3 million people across the world 
are currently under threat of forced eviction compared to 3.6 million 
people in the period 1998-2000.   COHRE's Global Survey is aimed at 
increasing awareness of the often-unknown scale of this practice.

"Our research exposes this silent epidemic of forced evictions which 
is taking place day and night across the world.  Millions of people, 
who of course tend to be poor, are being thrown into deeper misery, 
without any recourse to justice, rehousing or compensation. At this 
rate, nearly 20,000 people will face eviction every day in coming 
months. Forced evictions are illegal and must stop", Leckie added.

This latest issue of COHRE's Global Survey includes a special section 
on forced evictions in countries hosting mega-events such as the 
Olympic Games or International Conferences.  This section examines 
cities from Athens, to Beijing where thousands of people are being 
forced from their homes as urban centres are beautified and new 
sporting facilities and conference halls built. 

International Law concerning Forced Evictions: 

The United Nations has repeatedly declared forced evictions a 
violation of human rights. Forced evictions are also outlawed in the 
International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and 
other international treaties. Forced evictions, which can be the 
result of development schemes, war or polices of ethnic 
discrimination violate a number of human rights, including the right 
to adequate housing, property rights, the right to respect of the 
home, the right to security of the person, and the right to the 
enjoyment of possessions.

For more information contact:

Scott Leckie, Executive Director on  + 66 2 237 3460 
(Bangkok +5 hours CET), Cell Phone:  + 41 79 242 8033

Scott is an international human rights lawyer specialising in the 
right to housing.  

Jean du Plessis, Deputy Director on + 41 22 734 1028
(Geneva, Switzerland, CET) 

Bret Thiele, Human Rights Lawyer/Senior Researcher on
 +1 218 733 1370 or 724 9248 (Duluth, Minnesota, USA -7 hours CET)
e-mail: Bret_Thiele@yahoo.com
can be downloaded from www.cohre.org   For hard copies contact the 
COHRE International Secretariat in Geneva, Switzerland at: + 41 22 
734 1028

COHRE is now running a Global Forced Eviction Project aimed at 
preventing and documenting forced evictions wherever they occur.  For 
more information on this project write to evictions@cohre.org.

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