How People Face Evictions

The UCL Institute for Human Rights invites you to

Forced Evictions and Human Rights: Launch of a Report & Discussion – how land and housing evictions violate economic and social rights

Thursday, 5 May 2011
Registration from 5:00pm Event starts at 5:30pm
Bentham House, Endsleigh Gardens, WC1H 0EG London

The UCL Institute for Human Rights is delighted to host the launch of a new report written by UCL academics in collaboration with others working on the question of forced evictions

Professor Yves Cabannes – UCL Development Planning Unit, co-author of report
Sylvia Guimaraes – Building & Social Housing Foundation, co-author
Cassidy Johnson – UCL Development Planning Unit, co-author
Malavika Vartak – Amnesty International
Cesare Ottolini – International Alliance of Inhabitants and Zero Eviction Campaign
Saladin Meckled-Garcia – UCL Institute for Human Rights
George Letsas – UCL Institute for Human Rights
Facilitated by Gautam Bhan – Indian Institute for Human Settlements

About the Event:

A new report examining how people and communities around the world face forced eviction has been published by a prominent group of activists and researchers. This event has been set up by the Institute for Human Rights to discuss the relationships of forced evictions to economic and social rights, and their status as violations.

We are planning for the format of the event to be a dynamic discussion with the panellists and audience (questions & answers) facilitated by Gautam Bhan. This will be preceded by a very short presentation of the report.

How People Face Evictions

Development Planning Unit, University College of London (DPU/UCL)
34 Tavistock Square, London, WC1H 9EZ, United Kingdom

Building and Social Housing Foundation (BSHF)
Memorial Square, Coalville, Leicestershire, LE67 3TU, United Kingdom
Research coordination and editing team

Research Coordinator: Prof. Yves Cabannes, Chair of Development Planning, DPU/UCL
Silvia Guimarães Yafai, Head of International Programmes, BSHF
Cassidy Johnson, Lecturer, MSc Building and Urban Design in Development, DPU/UCL


Forced and market-driven evictions are increasing dramatically worldwide, with devastating effects on millions of children, women and men across the globe. Despite this negative trend, however, many people-led initiatives have been successful in addressing this issue and reducing the number of evictions, developing new policies and proving that alternatives to forced eviction can be found. This project aims to document, reflect upon and share people-based initiatives and experiences of struggles against evictions, including how groups are securing rights to adequate housing, legal security of tenure and freedom from arbitrary destruction and dispossession, giving voice to people who are active on the ground and providing an opportunity for exchange and mutual learning.

The research has been coordinated by the Development Planning Unit (DPU) of University College London, with the support of the Building and Social Housing Foundation (BSHF), and carried out with a range of grassroots organisations, networks and activists in different parts of the world.

The project has been carried out in two stages, initially focussing on documenting the experiences and examples of good practice *by the preparation of narratives by *local groups who have faced or are currently facing forced evictions the cities of Buenos Aires (Argentina), Porto Alegre (Brazil), Durban (South Africa), Hangzhou (China), Istanbul (Turkey), Karachi (Pakistan) and Santo Domingo (Dominican Republic), as well as in the rural villages of Mirshaq and Sarandu in Egypt.

The second stage of the project has focused on sharing these experiences – both amongst the various groups involved and to other groups currently facing forced evictions – through an international exchange event held in Istanbul, one of the participating cities, in February 2010. Following the documentation of the individual cases and inputs from the exchange seminar, a cross-sectional analysis has been prepared with key lessons and themes drawn from the various cases, along with concluding remarks on issues that have emerged as part of the discussions and documentation process.

The central focus of this report is on the practical strategies and experiences of communities who have directly struggled against forced evictions. Many of these experiences offer valuable lessons for other groups facing similar issues and it is envisaged that the groups involved, as well as the many other groups around the world confronting similar issues, will benefit from the documentation of these diverse experiences and solutions and identify cross-cutting themes.