"The World Urban Forum, held every two years, was established by the United Nations to examine one of the most pressing issues facing the world today: rapid urbanization in a world where half of humanity lives in cities and where in the next 50 years that proportion is expected to reach two-thirds of the global population..."
From June 18th until June 23rd, Hotline Coordinator Emmy Pantin and Tenant Organizer Jed Kilbourn attended the third World Urban Forum (WUF 3) in Vancouver, BC.
In the months leading up to WUF 3, we joined forces with a large number of community and international organizations in order to plan a rally outside the World Urban Forum. The rally was designed to protest forced evictions and to remind the international community about the human right to adequate housing.
Part of the strategy for the rally was to read out "People's Orders to Enforce the Right to Housing". The Orders were addressed to:
- The Government of British Columbia - for the displacement, evictions and development in the Downtown Eastside
- The Government of Canada - for the UN committee citation for failure to comply with treaty obligations for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
- The Government of Zimbabwe - for the destruction of communities and forced evictions in Harare
- The Government of India - for the massive forced evictions in Mumbai, Narmada, and Delhi
- The Government of the Philippines - for forced evictions in Manila
- The Government of the United States of America - for the destruction of social housing, failure to build housing, and continuing homelessness
- The Governments of the UK and Germany - for the sale and privatization of social housing
- The Government of the Dominican Republic - for forced evictions and violations of housing rights
- The Government of Israel - for the dispossession of Palestinian people, mass forced evictions and the destruction of homes
- The Governments of the World - for the failure to meet obligations to establish gender equality
- The Government of Nigeria - for the massive forced evictions and destruction of communities in Abuja
- The Government of the United States of America - for negligence in the destruction of New Orleans and failure to meet obligations to the survivors of Hurricane Katrina
The rally was a great success. Once the People's Orders had been read, all the organizers and participants entered the World Urban Forum in a New Orleans jazz funeral procession to mourn the death of Adequate Housing.
We made strong links with national and international tenant organizations, and feel that these connections will serve us well in the future. We're looking forward to organizing an event for International Tenant's Day on October 1st with an understanding that while our fight for better rights is local, any organizing we do is part of a broader global movement.