Housing rights has been one of the most important issues in all of ACHR's work, from the coalition's very beginnings in 1988, to the work we are doing around the region today. All of the people and groups that make up the ACHR coalition feel this is the key issue that needs to be dealt with: that people in Asian cities should not be deprived of their rights to live in decent houses, in supportive human settlements, with access to basic services and public amenities, just because they are poor and cannot afford even the most minimum formal housing the private and public sectors provide. For housing rights is not just a matter of having a decent, secure house. Decent, secure housing is the thing which most sharply separates the poor from everyone else in their cities, and the thing which most powerfully ensures a person’s security, dignity, legitimacy and citizenship.

When some see the work ACHR is doing now in cities around Asia, to promote city-wide slum upgrading by poor communities themselves, they may feel we've forgotten our activist roots, abandoned our struggle for housing rights and become instead a kind of housing developer or a donor agency that funds housing projects. But in the past 23 years, we have never ceased to focus our work seriously on this issue - although the way we have done so has gone through many changes. And this city-wide upgrading work is no less passionately about helping the urban poor to realize their housing rights than the coalition's earliest work making noise about the evictions that were taking place around the region. But it may be helpful to explain the logic which informs this city-wide and community-driven movement ACHR is now supporting by describing the stages the coalition's work has gone through, the lessons each of those stages has given us, and the reasons why we are now working in the way we are.

ACHR's work on Housing Rights over the last 23 years
A 3 page note from Somsook Boonyabancha (Director of the Asian Coalition for Housing Rights),
for the UN-Habitat's meeting on Housing Rights, in Nairobi, September 2011  PDF 470 KBs

 

ACHR Newsleter Special Edition: How Poor Communities Deal with Evictions
PDF file Full Text Graphics Photos 2.35 megabytes