World Habitat Day: One billion slum dwellers cannot be ignored

Governments cannot celebrate the UN World Habitat Day on 4 October while ignoring one billion people living in slums, said Amnesty International.

  Amnesty International’s Senior Director of International Law and Policy Widney Brown said:    “A couple of weeks ago in New York, governments promised to help 100 million living in slums. The problem is that more than a billion people live in slums. They don’t have water, schools, sanitation, or health care.”    Mass forced evictions of people living in slums are being carried out around the world, with Roma communities evicted across Europe, slum dwellers in Delhi forcibly evicted to make way for the Commonwealth games and more than 200,000 people facing eviction in Port Harcourt, Nigeria.   The recent Millennium Development Goal (MDG) Summit failed to call on governments to stop forced evictions, despite evidence that such evictions drive people further into poverty and undermine all the MDGs. It instead asked governments to ‘reduce slum populations’, raising fears that this could encourage more forced evictions.   Widney Brown added:    “From France to Zimbabwe to Cambodia, we have documented how governments are destroying homes of some of the poorest people in their countries. Those whose homes are destroyed are failed by the law, they get no compensation and no place to live.    “It is time for World leaders to move beyond the rhetoric we heard in New York and take urgent action to protect the rights of people living in slums.”

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