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FOCUS December 2003 Volume 34

Eviction

Editorial

Slums in cities result from poor people's need for a place to stay. Many of them come to the cities to escape poverty in the rural areas. Many also came decades before and settled in places that were unused, if not almost abandoned.

The slums are home to many workers in the city, to people who engage in the so-called informal economic activities (such as market and street vending). They constitute communities, like any other community, of families with children and old people as members.

Eviction is a trauma. It dislocates people who have less means of coping with loss of homes and sometimes livelihood. It disrupts communities whose residents survive on their own.

Governments are obliged to support the realization of the right to adequate housing especially of those who need it most - the poor. Tolerating forced eviction, instead of enforcing humane and appropriate solution to squatting and the rise of slums, does not uphold the right to adequate housing. Experience shows that eviction is not the answer.

There is no dearth of experience in having appropriate answers to the slum issue that satisfy the interest of government, the landowners and the urban poor. Finding that appropriate solution must be the objective, rather than eviction.


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