Benguela 29th-31st July 2010


Between the 29th and 31st July 2010, the province of Benguela hosted the national conference on evictions under the motto “Don’t Push Down My House”, which included the participation of approximately 100 delegates, representing the affected communities in the provinces of Luanda, Benguela, Kwanza Sul, Huila and South Luanda, as well as civil society organizations, university students, politicians and the general population.

The goal of this conference was to conceive a national strategy, integrated in global movements of prevention and fight against forced evictions and demolitions. During the three days of works, the discussion revolved around the following focal points:

1 – Experiences of international networks in housing riths;
2 – The experience of the Angolan civil society, with statements given by the communities and organizations involved in the process;
3 – Analysis of the experiences and identification of the lessons learned;
4 – Debates on future strategies, having the sub-themes of advocacy, communication and field actions in consideration.

During the conference, the participants shared several statements of people and communities that had seen their houses demolished, without previous warning or legal protection, and who are currently surviving in difficult conditions. This way, one calls for better urban management and implementation of directive plans as a way of making it possible for the requalification processes to correspond to the expectations, needs and basic freedoms of the citizens.

In like manner, the participants recognize that the participation and involvement of the communities in the demolition and eviction issue, as well as the dialogue and understanding between governments and civil society, are vital to define and build the processes meant to improve the lives of the population, and the growth and development of residential areas.

Recognizing that adequate housing is fundamental for human life and for the full exercise of citizenship, the conference participants urge the Angolan state and institutions to respect, protect and promote the right to adequate housing.

On the other hand, the participants of the event restated their condemnation of the brutality with which the country’s authorities carry out the evictions of people, who allegedly occupy areas considered to be state reserve. As well, the participants applauded the government’s intent to give land titles to the people of the Graça community, in Benguela, and encouraged other provincial governments to follow this example.

The participants also evoked Luiz Araújo and expressed their solidarity with the coordinator of SOS Habitat, currently in exile in Europe due to his interventions in the fight against forced demolitions and evictions in Angola.

Finally, the participants outlined the following recommendations:

1- To create and implement a national prevention strategy against forced demolitions and evictions, as well as to pursue integration in related global movements.

2- To share experiences and information on advocacy and lobbying actions about sustainable planning and housing policies.

3- The creation, reinforcement and consolidation of common spaces for debate and to share national, regional and international tools related to the right to adequate housing, as a way of discouraging future forced eviction and demolition actions by the Angolan authorities.

a) The participants demand that the authorities immediately suspend the forced demolitions and evictions until there is adequate legislation and dignified rehousing alternatives for the population.

b) They demand that the situation of the people rehoused in extremely precarious conditions is solved as a priority.

Today, the 31st of July, the conference participants congratulate all African women in general, and the Angolan women in particular, and express their solidarity with every woman evicted and living in a vulnerable and deplorable situation.

National Conference on Evictions, “Don't Push Down my House”, Benguela, 31st July 2010.
The participants

Sem comentários: