Houseboaters being 'socially cleansed' from Olympics area

FOTO River Lea resident Mike Wells believes nothing ‘unsightly or tatty’ will be allowed on the waterway during the 2012 Olympics. Photograph: David Levene for the Guardian

Ian Griffiths

Wednesday 9 March 2011

Houseboat residents near the Olympic development site in east  Londonare accusing British Waterways of an attempt at "social cleansing". They say proposed changes to rules for living on the canals before the 2012 Games could force hundreds of people from their water-based homes.



Houging Authority of New Orleans commits to hiring locally for public housing construction

FOTO David Grunfeld, The Times-Picayune archive   

Vertical construction has finally begun at the B.W. Cooper public-housing development, located in Central City not far from the Superdome. And as housing construction begins at Cooper, and goes into its second phase across town at Lafitte in the 6th Ward, the sites should be bustling with local workers.

At least 40 percent of the workers employed at the two sites will be residents of New Orleans, said Housing Authority of New Orleans Chairman David Gilmore.



Riots after house eviction in Berlin

Today one of the oldest squats in the center of Berlin was evicted. The squat was squatted in the 1990s because of many empty buildings at that time and the missing affordable living space in Berlin.

In the house people of the age of 18-40, including two babies, tried to live in an alternative way. They shared their money equal to their income and participated a lot in the left scene from Berlin - and where connected all over Europe. Often people from other countries visited the squat. Also the people from the squat where active in their neighborhood in social projects.



Recording human-rights cases


As urbanization takes hold across the globe, Joshua Mailman is looking to end forced evictions that often arise as a result of large-scale, new development.

Known for being a professional philanthropist, Mr. Mailman has launched a number of philanthropic organizations and wealthy giving circles such as the Social Network and Threshold Foundation. This month he announced a $50,000 gift to Brooklyn-based human rights organization Witness.



'Regret' over forced evictions in Cambodia

Monday, 27 December 2010 20:14 May Titthara

A senior government official yesterday expressed “regret” over the forced eviction and relocation of thousands of Phnom Penh residents in recent years, attributing problems to a lack of awareness in resolving government policy.

Speaking at a workshop in Phnom Penh yesterday, Im Chhun Lim, the Minister of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction, said that though the removal and relocation of residents’ homes was commonplace in developing countries, it was important that the government takes action based on the proper policies.



South Africa’s football lesson

On Sunday Dilma Rousseff will probably be voted president of Brazil. Soon afterwards she should get on her plane and visit the poor South African town of Nelspruit. There she will see the football stadium built for the recent World Cup. It’s barely played in any more, and isn’t much use to the surrounding slum-dwellers. From Nelspruit Rousseff can fly to Cape Town and view the magnificent new stadium beside the Atlantic. That one’s now redundant too. The company supposed to operate it for 30 years just pulled out of the deal, largely because Cape Town doesn’t need another stadium.

Then Rousseff can fly home and revise plans for what should be the most high-profile event of her reign: Brazil’s World Cup of 2014. Brazil can learn from South Africa’s mistakes. So can the countries bidding to host the World Cups of 2018 and 2022. (The winners will be chosen on December 2, unless scandals delay the vote.) Hosts need to understand what a World Cup is: a party. It leaves nothing behind except a hangover, good memories and a large bill.



Nigeria's urban renewal is trying to bulldoze human rights

The clearing of more than 200,000 people who live on the waterfronts of Port Harcourt will wreck businesses and lives

Celestine Akpobari
guardian.co.uk, Monday 1 November 2010 14.00 GMT

Having to stand by and watch helplessly as bulldozers destroy home and possessions is probably one of the hardest things any person could endure. Yet that threat looms for more than 200,000 people who live on the waterfronts of Port Harcourt, in Rivers State, Nigeria. And for some – like Love Bassett Okpadio – it has already become a reality.

Okpadio used to live in Njemanze, an informal settlement on Port Harcourt's waterfronts, with her husband and five children. In August 2009, Okpadio and her family were forcibly evicted from their home which was demolished under state authorities' orders.



Roma, on Move, Test Europe’s ‘Open Borders’


Published: September 16, 2010

BUCHAREST, Romania — This city is full of stark, Soviet-era housing blocks, and the grimmest among them — gray towers of one-room apartments with communal bathrooms and no hot water — are given over to the Roma population.

Roma like Maria Murariu, 62, who tends to her dying husband in a foul-smelling room no bigger than a jail cell. She has not found work in five years.

“There is not much for us in Romania,” she said recently, watching her husband sleep. “And now that we are in the European Union, we have the right to go to other countries. It is better there.”



Kazakhstani apartment buyers stage rolling hunger strike

By Kapiza Nurtazina 


ASTANA -- A group of apartment buyers are taking turns staging ten-day hunger strikes to protest their treatment by construction firms and banks since the financial crisis hit in 2008.



Kicked Out for the Cup?

South Africa is accused of clearing Cape Town slums to clean up for the big event.

Victor Gumbi sits pensively beside a smoldering fire in a newly cleared lot, literally in the shadow of the recently renovated Ellis Park Stadium, one of the many venues where South Africa will host the World Cup football tournament, which kicks off this week. South Africa billed the world’s most popular sporting event as a boon to development that would help lift millions out of poverty, but Gumbi, a 35-year-old day laborer, says things are only getting worse. Not long after South Africa was awarded the tournament, an entire city block in the neighborhood where he lives was slated for destruction as part of a larger urban-regeneration scheme around the stadium, as Johannesburg began preparing for the throngs of tourists expected to come pouring in over the next few weeks.



As Homeowners’ Dreams Die, He’s the Undertaker


Published: May 6, 2010

LAKE VILLA, Ill. — If you see Joseph Laubinger on your doorstep, start packing. His courtly presence means you have exhausted all excuses, arguments and options for keeping your house.

“It’s like I’m a doctor,” said Mr. Laubinger, an agent here for big lenders. “People ask me how much time they have left.”

Hardly any. Legally, they have already lost ownership. If they do not respond to the carrot the lenders offer — as much as $5,000 in cash in exchange for leaving the house in good order — he employs the stick: the county sheriff, who evicts them.



German Company brought to Justice over abuses in Sudan Dam?

Blog Posting by Peter Bosshard


The Merowe Dam on the Nile in Northern Sudan is one of the largest and most destructive hydropower projects in Africa. Commissioned in 2009, the project affects up to 70,000 people, many of whom were displaced from the fertile Nile Valley to arid desert locations. Thousands of people were flushed out of their houses by raising waters before they were properly resettled. A German NGO and an affected person now filed a criminal complaint over the abuses in the project against the German company that supervised project construction. The complaint breaks new ground in holding transnational corporations accountable for human rights abuses on their projects.



Save Dale Farm Gypsy and Traveller community Bulletin - Zero Evictions

The Dale Farm Housing Association (DFHA) presents the 1st edition 2010 of the bulletin 'SAVE DALE FARM', which was designed and edited with the assistance of the Essex Human Rights Clinic.

The bulletin informs about the historical context of the Gypsy and Traveller communities of Dale Farm, UK, and the planned eviction that threatens their life and culture. The bulletin outlines the national and international legal contexts and presents steps taken by DFHA to prevent a forced eviction. It envisages to raise awareness and establish a network of monitoring organisations, and asks for active support.