The world today is facing an unprecedented housing and land rights crisis. Approximately 1.6 billion people are considered to be inadequately housed, while one hundred million are homeless and another sixty million have been displaced from their homes.[i]
In the Latin American and Caribbean region (LAC), millions of families live under a constant threat of being evicted from the land and homes on which they live. In 2014 alone, over 4 million people in the region were evicted[ii]. In 2015, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Adequate Housing acknowledged the increasing rates of forced evictions with impunity, the expansion of informal settlements, the development of unaffordable rental properties, and the tenure insecurity of millions of Latin American and Caribbean people[iii].
In January 2017, SueloUrbano.org/Solid Ground and the Land Portal Foundation teamed up to facilitate a regional dialogue on Urban Land Conflicts in Latin America and the Caribbean. This initiative was conducted in the framework of the Global Land Tool Networks - GLTN’s Cluster of Urban Civil Society Organizations in LAC; as well as in the framework of the Solid Ground campaign, a global advocacy campaign of Habitat for Humanity to improve access to land for shelter.
The regional dialogue engaged experts and organizations from 12 LAC countries – Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Honduras, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay. Their contribution to the dialogue included local evidence on the different types, root causes and impact of urban land conflicts, as well as lessons learned from practical experiences and ideas and entry points for action and way forward. The report “Urban Land Conflicts and Evictions in Latin America and the Caribbean” summarizes the main topics of this regional dialogue. The document is available in English and Spanish.
The aim of the dialogue and report was to provide an overview of the different types of land conflicts and how this issue is being addressed across the region. This overview, far from being a comprehensive assessment of the current situation, provides lessons learned from practice, with potential to inform further efforts that seeking to strengthen and protect the housing, land and property rights of those most in need.
[i] KOTHARI. 2015. The Global Crisis of Displacement and Evictions: A Housing and Land Rights Response. ROSA LUXEMBURG STIFTUNG NEW YORK OFFICE.
[ii] SCHECHLA. 2014. Bearing Witness to Forced Evictions: Habitat II’s Broken Promise, Habitat III’s Missing Link. Housing and Land Rights Network / Habitat International Coalition.
[iii] Statement of the UN Special Rapporteur on adequate housing as a component of the right to an adequate standard of living and on the right to non-discrimination in this context, Ms. Leilani Farha, during the 2nd Latin America and Caribbean Regional Forum on Adequate Housing “Vivienda para la Vida”, in Monterrey, Mexico, May 6th, 2015.