Social collectives, institutions and international voices are aligned in favor of the debate and enactment of PAH’s Housing Law. Only the Popular Party (PP) and Ciudadanos would support a government veto against this law proposal.
Last January 10th, families organized within the Platform for People Affected by Mortgages (PAH by its Spanish acronym) registered PAH’s Housing Law in the Spanish Congress. Should it be passed, this law proposal would end evictions and energy poverty, as well as regulate rental contracts. This proposal is the result of three years of collective work, where affected families from 240 platforms throughout Spain agreed on the draft for a legal text. During the following year the initial text was negotiated with all Spanish MP’s, with the intention to generate a consensus proposal to kickstart a democratic debate among all forces of Congress.
The measures resulting from this process were: dation in payment, regulation of rental prices, a moratorium of evictions, an increase of public housing stock and guaranteed access to electricity, water and heating. All common sense measures which are a reality in the rest of the European Union. However, during this process we found out that the PP-led government has the capacity to veto law proposals affecting the national budget for the current tax year. Faced with this, we included a clause so that any measure needing public expenses would not be enforced until the next national budget were approved.
Nevertheless, we were aware that PP had cheated in the past. They had registered unjustified vetoes that were then endorsed by Ciudadanos in the Table of Congress. Given this fact, we began to knock on every door to explain the need for this law and the main obstacle it was facing. The veto, though a direct attack on democratic life, was also a mechanism unknown to most people. Everywhere we went we found overwhelming support. Those in favor described the possibility of the veto as an antidemocratic atrocity and our law as an example to be applauded. As of today we have the support of:
– Hundreds of social collectives, grassroot unions, neighbourhood associations and social movements which have taken part in demonstrations organized in Spain’s provincial capitals. The last one took place in Madrid on March 3rd, where families coming from all over Spain came to the country’s capital city to demand the debate and enactment of PAH’s Housing Law.
– Social movements from London, Berlin, Munich, Paris, Bucharest, Milan, Cyprus, Sarajevo and Lisbon have staged protest actions in front of Spanish embassies demanding that the government accepts PAH’s Housing Law for consideration. These demonstrations have been coordinated by the European Action Coalition for the Right to Housing and to the City, the Marea Granate (a collective of Spanish migrants abroad) and the Rosa Luxembourg Foundation.
– With the slogan #EstaEsMiLey (#ThisIsMyLaw) we have received up to 40 supporting videos from journalists, musicians, artists, television presenters, actors and actresses and citizens’ collectives. Some examples would be Jordi Évole, Rozalen, Àngel Llàcer, Oxfam and the Kellys from Barcelona.
– Over a hundred City Halls have signed motions supporting the legislation of our suggested measures.
– Political parties of up to 14 Autonomic Parliaments (out of a total of 17) have signed documents of public support asking for this law to be accepted for consideration in Parliament. The Autonomic Parliament of Navarra even made a public statement of institutional support.
– In the Spanish Congress we have received support from the following political parties: Podemos, ERC (Catalan Republican Left), Compromís and EH Bildu. And even though they did not take part in the law’s registration process, both PSOE (Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party) and PDeCat (Catalan Democratic Party) have publicly supported the processing of our law.
– Recently, in the European Parliament, we received signatures of support from two Eurogroups in full: GUE/NGL (Gauche Unitaire Européenne / Nordic Green Left) and the EFA (European Free Alliance), who altogether represent 55 political parties from different European Union countries.
– We have even garnered support repeatedly from the United Nations. As of today, the UN has ruled twice that in Spain human rights are violated when evictions without a housing alternative are carried out. UN Special Rapporteur on Housing, Leilani Farha, authored an article stating that the solution to these issues was PAH’s Housing Law. She went as far as describing PAH’s Housing Law as an example to inspire the world.
As if that were not enough, we would like to repeat that PAH’s Housing Law incorporates the demands of a Popular Legislative Initiative that we registered in 2013 in the Spanish Congress and which received 90% of public support from Spanish society. Spanish civil society stands behind PAH’s Housing Law. Social organizations stand behind PAH’s Housing Law. And institutions on all levels demand that this law be debated and enacted. Even voices from the international community have described PAH’s Housing Law as a world referent. In 40 years of democracy it is a historical precedent that a law proposal receives such massive and widespread support.
The only ones in favor of a government veto which would prevent this law being debated would be the Popular Party and Ciudadanos. The parties led by Mariano Rajoy and Albert Rivera. Faced with this situation, our message is clear: allow democracy to work. Allow a law written by and for the citizens to be debated.
Tomorrow, Friday the 16th of March, will be the last day when the government can register a veto, which would be unjustified. The government has the chance to position itself alongside all the voices that defend PAH’s Housing Law. And should they miss out on this opportunity, Ciudadanos can still reconsider their stance and join that overwhelming majority defending families’ rights. It is simply a question of political will. ¡Sí se puede! We can do it!
#ApoyosPAH / PAHsSupport
The support for the PAH Housing Law and the fight for a dignified housing does not end in Spain. On the 27th and 28th of febrary, the PAH with representation from all the territories, traveled to Brussels to take our demands to the European Parliaments, with the exception of the PP who refused to help us.The reception of our demands was practically unanimous both for the spanish representations, even the Ciudadanos,as recognized that there was no point in vetoing the discussion. as well as on the part of the majority of the members of the European Parliaments from the rest of the European caountries.
We also met with social movements from countries such as Greece and Brussels where we received a warm welcome that ended with a unanimous statement: «We need the PAH Housing Law in ours countries» A statement that only reaffirms the words of the UN Housing Rapporteur, affirming that this Law was a precedent that serves to inspire the world.
At the same time we were in Brussels, social movements across Europe supported the PAH Housing Law carrying out an action at Spanish embassies and consulates across the continent to bring them a document and obtein signatures of support from ambassadors and consumers in Berlin , Milan, Paris, Munich, Cyprus, Lisbon, Sarajevo, Bucharest. We only have words of thanks for the Foundation of Rosa de Luxembourg, Granates Tides, to all the members of the European Action Coalition for the right to housing and the city
All this is another example of the loneliness of the PP, protected only by Ciudadanos. If we do not overcome the veto, which has a deadline of March 16, we would face an absolute violation of Spanish democracy and a greater evidence of the lack of political height of those who claim to represent the families of this country, but only They worry about the economic interests of a few without taking into account the most fundamental rights and the lives that are at stake due to the violation of these.
Yesterday we showed it in . We have shown that if they do not sit down to talk, we will rise up and occupy the streets to achieve with mobilization and civil pressure to carry out what the government is not capable of doing.
Thanks to all who have joined us in this international show of support for our proposal for the Housing Law. Your support has been key in reminding us that we are not doing this alone. It has been a very successful call and we can not thank enough for the help to promote a fairer legal system in Spain. Changing the housing policy of our country would mean a gigantic victory for our movement and a social welfare for all citizens.
The PAH (Spanish acronym for Platform of Mortgage Affected Victims) has had to go to the European Parliament in Brussels to let MEP’s know about the housing emergency that the Popular Party (PP) led government tries to hide. In the Spanish state there are 173 evictions every day. More than 5 million households suffer energy poverty due to not being able to afford utility bills. And up to 7,000 people die every year because of energy poverty. There are lives at stake, which are on the borderline, while the PP government blocks any and all initiatives aiming to protect the Right to Housing. During their mandate they have blocked up to 7 laws that came from Autonomous Parliaments. They have deregulated rental prices and the party went as far as to sell 1,860 public housing units to the Blackstone vulture fund in Madrid. Even the United Nations ruled that human rights in the housing sector are violated in the Spanish state. Moreover, recently the UN has drafted a report stating that the Spanish government fails the test on rights of children, unprotected in face of evictions and energy poverty affecting them.
We are aware that the PP government attends international forums, such as the European Parliament in Brussels, where they list all the reforms they have made in terms of housing. But the very committees following up on the laws that the PP government has enacted agree that that all together these laws have not been able to provide solutions to more than 1% of the affected families. In the Spanish state, the PP government has declared war on the most basic rights. During all this time, the affected families have found solutions organising and mobilising themselves. Since the creation of the PAH in 2009, the citizens have stopped thousands of evictions by putting their bodies in front of affected people’s homes. We as the PAH have rehoused 4,000 people in vacant bank-owned apartments through protest actions and have even managed to collect more than 90% of social support for our demands.
Being aware first hand that things can be changed, PAH has registered a legal text in the Spanish Congress known as Ley Vivienda PAH (PAH’s Housing Law): if enacted, it would end evictions, regulate rental prices and guarantee access to basic utility services such as water, electricity and gas. Ever since it was officially registered, every day more actors join in defending the need for this law to be passed. Hundreds of trade unions and social movements have adhered to the text of the law. More than 100 City Councils have approved motions in favor. Within Congress, there is already a majority of parliamentary forces that support the processing of this law. As if that were not enough, even the UN Special Rapporteur on Housing, Leilani Farha, said that this legal text is a world example to guarantee the Right to Housing.
In a true democracy, PAH’s Housing Law would be debated and approved. The government of the Popular Party, led by Mariano Rajoy, vetoes any bill that is not to their liking to prevent debate in Congress. Despite being a minority government, which accumulates the largest number of corruption cases in the entire European Union, the government could prevent democratic dialogues from taking place in the Congress. According to the Congress regulations, a government can only exceptionally veto a law if it affects the current budget. However, PAH’s Housing Law does not affect the current budget at all. It is designed so that measures which may affect the budget are postponed and implemented in the following fiscal year.
More importantly, it is a law that forces institutions guilty of the current situation to dedicate resources to solve the emergency: banks should offer social rents and utilities should guarantee access to water, electricity and gas for vulnerable families. It is a law that would put an end to the perverse logic of transferring public resources to private entities. However, it would not be the first time that the PP government vetoes a law without any justification. Only in the last legislature, the PP government has vetoed more than 40 bills. Almost half of vetoes made during Spain’s democratic regime have taken place during PP’s last two years in office. And this violation of democracy has been possible because the PP has the support of a political party called Ciudadanos (Citizens), who even being aware that the PP government bypasses the rules of Congress, always vote in favor of all its vetoes.
Aware of this reality, from the PAH we have requested a meeting with the PP government . We have tried to explain to them that there is no reason to veto PAH’s Housing Law. In fact, the PP is taking an antidemocratic drift when they arbitrarily decide whether a law is debated or not, when there is a Congress maintained by the citizens precisely for the debate of laws. We have also publicly questioned Ciudadanos, explaining that if they did not support the government, even if the PP registers a veto, PAH’s Housing Law could be debated. But until now they have remained silent.
That is why we are going to the Parliament of the European Union. An institution created to protect democracy and human rights. An institution that in fact, has already stated that we are right countless times. The Court of Justice of the European Union has ruled up to 8 times that the Spanish mortgage law is anomalous, illegal and violating the most fundamental rights. Also the European Court of Human Rights has ruled that it is illegal to execute evictions without a housing alternative. We come here so that the voice of affected families can be heard by members of many countries. So that the debate that the Spanish government wants to silence in its own country can begin beyond the borders of the Spanish state. To make public the fact that there are solutions that families, more exemplary than the government, are proposing as of right now.
The citizens of the Spanish state are demanding to put on the same level in terms of rights as our European neighbours. We want to be able to rent homes like in France and in Germany. We want a public housing stock for rent like the one existing in Austria and Sweden. We want there to be mechanisms against unpayable debts like United Kingdom citizens enjoy. We want there to be an authentic democracy, where the voice of the families is kept in mind, where proposals of law can be debated, where the Spanish Constitution is respected and where international agreements on human rights are fulfilled.
Although we do not have an easy task ahead of us, the families constituting PAH will mobilise. We will not allow the government of the PP and its ally Citizens to continue pretending that there are no alternatives. And for that reason, after this visit to the European Parliament, we will go on March 3rd to Madrid, the capital of the Spanish state. Families from different parts of the state will join together with groups, social movements, unions and associations to point out to the person with the biggest responsibility for the current state of affairs: the Spanish president, Mariano Rajoy. While the government is silent, citizens are on the move.
¡Sí se puede! We can do it!
Meeting Paris Research Group
2-7 Febrero 2018
La trayectoria de la European Action Coalition for the Housing and to the City (EAC) comienza a ser ya dilatada en el tiempo y consecuentemente aporta resultados en todos los sentidos. Son ya muchos encuentros los celebrados. Ha crecido en número de participantes (países y grupos). Se han formado grupos de trabajo como Dinamización, Comunicación, Research y Movilización, cuyo trabajo va ofreciendo a su ritmo resultados prácticos.
Nuestra participación como PAH no deja de ser muy importante para la Coalición si bien hay períodos en que ésta baja en intensidad al punto de casi desaparecer (háganselo mirar). Es apreciada, esperada siempre y casi se puede decir que nunca defrauda. No parece posible llegar a más pues nuestras ocupaciones personales, dentro y fuera de la PAH, así lo limitan. Hemos seguido entre todas la trayectoria de la Coalición desde sus inicios, formándola incluso, tenemos en ella un peso específico que nadie nos puede negar, y sin duda cabe esperar de ella más y mejores resultados. Resultados que tienen que ver precisamente con un futuro ciertamente complejo que nos afecta a nivel local, como bien sabemos en España, comunidad por comunidad, pueblo a pueblo, PAH por PAH. De norte a Sur, de Este a Oeste.
El grupo de trabajo llamado Research (Investigación; iniciado en Dublin 2016), investiga sobre los fenómenos característicos que relacionan la vivienda y la ciudad con la economía, el derecho con los aspectos financieros, … en síntesis la llamada financiarización, que afecta no solo a España sino a toda Europa y al mundo entero pues los capitales se mueven a nivel global. Este grupo realiza un trabajo que los otros grupos aprovechan para organizar campañas y sirve también como soporte del saber y de la coherencia de la Coalición.
Así es que este grupo ha producido, entre otros logros, un estudio de casos con participación de buena parte de los 28 grupos miembros, de 20 países europeos participantes, un manifiesto “corto” directamente relacionado con dicho estudio, y se propone completar para Septiembre otro manifiesto más completo por medio del cual explicar íntegramente el fenómeno de la financiarización en sus vertiente principales: Capital global, Privatización de la vivienda pública/propiedad privada, qué es finanza y Viviendas vacías/Exclusión. Es posible afirmar que con este documento, Brochure o manifiesto, además de servir de guía para los movimientos, la Coalición podrá trasladar al “público interesado” su visión de los fenómenos que nos afectan, sus causas, actores, y efectos sobre los bienes y derechos que nos conciernen directamente como habitantes Europeos. Vivienda y ciudad.
Este trabajo del grupo Research tendrá su continuidad en Milán, próxima cita de la Coalición, y será presentado en Lisboa, segunda cita semestral de la Coalición, para su debate y aprobación.
Y, Como ejemplo de buena organización por parte de nuestras queridas compas anfitrionas de París, debo citar que el meeting terminó con una conferencia, de pequeño formato, abierta a público y prensa, en la que los diferentes grupos asistentes tuvimos la ocasión de presentar una imagen de lo que pasa en nuestros respectivos países. Compartir experiencias es básico para avanzar en toda lucha.
November 8-12, 2017
One Europe, One People, One struggle. With this motto, Cyprus (November 8-12, 2017) receives the groups (Movements or platforms) members of the European Coalition for the right to housing and to the city, among which is the PAH. Meeting Cyprus
Four days of work marked by four basic axes:
some self-knowledge and internal organization
listening to a concrete case victim of the terrible banking practices (and his lawyer)
a little listening and dealing with politicians and the KTO union whose headquarters welcomes us.
and an important action that supposes the launching of the Campaign #handsOffOurhomes by the European Coalition. Launching of a new campaign #HandsOffOurHomes
The Coalition comes, from its beginnings, preparing itself to carry out actions that have as a consequence the social change. Making the movement visible with its struggles is one of the tasks, perhaps the most important one, based on organizing actions, centralized like this one in Cyprus, or decentralized as the ones that each group does in their country. In both cases the Coalition echoes the demands of the inhabitants of each European region and publishes the contents created by each member as well as those created jointly (2 newsletters per year, book of evictions in Europe, the recent document Brochure , Et.).
Work is important in all its forms. But the Action is what makes the most sense to the Coalition and so we feel it to those who integrate it. On this occasion, the Campaign against Financialization#HandsOffOurHomesstarts in Cyprus with a concentration in front of the Central Bank of Cyprus, at its headquarters in Nicosia, with a lot of attention from local media unaccustomed, perhaps, to international events of this type .
And also in front of the seat of the Parliament of Cyprus delivering a document with our demands to its President.
This Action is undoubtedly an important milestone for the European Coalition for the right to Housing and to the City as it means the launching of its first major campaign at European level. Campaign that is the result of a collective effort to analyze the different local situations, compare them and draw conclusions without surprises: Financing is a phenomenon that affects all of Europe. With differences according to the countries but with the common elements that allow us to join efforts to fight together for an inalienable right.
The future of the Coalition, its strategic orientation and the upcoming meetings mark the final debate before we bid farewell to Cyprus.
Thank you Cyprus compahs for such a good reception.
Links of interest
ONE EUROPE – ONE PEOPLE – ONE STRUGGLE
Una Europa, un Pueblo, una lucha. Con este lema nos recibe Chipre (8-12 de Noviembre de 2017) a los Grupos (Movimientos o plataformas) miembros de la Coalición Europea por el derecho a la vivienda y la ciudad entre los que está la PAH. Meeting Cyprus
Cuatro jornadas de trabajo marcadas por cuatro ejes básicos:
– un poco de conocimiento propio y organización interna
la escucha de un caso concreto victima de las pésimas prácticas bancarias (y de su abogada)
un poco de escucha y trato con políticos y el sindicato KTO cuya sede nos acoge.
y una importante acción que supone el lanzamiento de la Campaña #handsOffOurhomes por la Coalición Europea. Launching of a new campaign #HandsOffOurHomes
La Coalición viene, desde sus inicios, preparándose para llevar a cabo acciones que tengan como consecuencia el cambio social. Visibilizar el movimiento con sus luchas es uno de los cometidos, tal vez el más importante, a base de organizar acciones, centralizadas como esta de Chipre, o descentralizadas como las que cada grupo hace en su país. En ambos casos la Coalición se hace eco de las demandas de los habitantes de cada región europea y publica los contenidos creados por cada miembro así como los creados de forma conjunta (2 boletines al año, libro de los desahucios en Europa, el reciente documento Brochure, Et.).
El trabajo es importante en todas sus formas. Pero la Acción es lo que más sentido le da a la Coalición y así lo sentimos quienes la integramos. En esta ocasión se inicia en Chipre la Campaña contra la Financiarización #handsoffourhomescon una concentración ante el Banco Central de Chipre, en su sede en Nicosia, con bastante atención por parte de medios locales poco acostumbrados, tal vez, a eventos internacionales de este tipo.
Ante el Banco Central en Nicosia
También ante la Casa de Europa
Y también ante la sede del Parlamento de Chipre entregando un documento con nuestras demandas a su Presidente.
Es sin duda esta Acción un hito importante para la Coalición Europea por el derecho a la Vivienda y a la Ciudad por cuanto supone el lanzamiento de su primera gran campaña a nivel europeo. Campaña que viene a ser el resultado de un esfuerzo colectivo por analizar las diferentes situaciones locales, compararlas y extraer de ello conclusiones sin sorpresas: La Financiarización es un fenómeno que afecta a toda Europa. Con diferencias según los países pero con los elementos comunes que nos permiten unir esfuerzos para luchar juntas por un derecho inalienable.
El futuro de la Coalición, su orientación estratégica y los próximos encuentros marcan el debate final antes de despedirnos de Chipre.
Gracias compahs de Chipre por tan buena acogida.
Links de interés
Last November 9th 2017 PAH participated at a Fordham University School of Law panel: What does it mean to have a “Right to the City?” In the panel, in addition to PAH, took part Thomas Coggin, SJD Candidate FLS Fellow, Urban Center and Dawn Phillips, Executive Director Right to the City.
It’s not usual that you can contrast in the same panel the academic point of view and the activist one. This is precisely what made this panel a very interesting one. Thomas Coggin presented the academic concept of the Right to the City (RTC) and talked about Henri Lefebvre and David Harvey. In contrast to his academic view that most of the times we think it just stays in a classroom or meeting room, Dawn Phillips explained how Right to the City organization is a national alliance of racial, economic and environmental justice organizations that through shared principles and a common frame and theory of change, builds a national movement for racial justice, urban justice, human rights, and democracy.
PAH also presented its success case study of how civil society can self-organize to fight and gain its rights. PAH example with no professional activists, with no political party, union, ONG or any other organization behind, with no additional funding other that the ones we can self-generate and private donations, with no hierarchy, no president, no organizer, no board etc.. all being decided in open assemblies, can become such a successful case stopping thousands of evictions, retaking from banks empty houses and allocating vulnerable families, forcing banks to accept deals that allow families to have a real second opportunities with affordable rents and no debts or passing laws in many Autonomic States to guarantee the right to housing. Laws that have been taken to the Constitutional Court by the right wing Partido Popular but that haven’t stopped us from presenting our actual Ley Vivienda PAH campaign.
La financiarización de la vivienda es el resultado de la expansión del capitalismo neoliberal y su propensión a la mercantilización de todas las esferas de la vida. La desregulación neoliberal favorece al sector privado al apropiarse de la vivienda y transformarla en un producto básico.
La transformación completa de la vivienda en bienes, no solo una mercancía en los mercados inmobiliarios, sino también en los mercados financieros. Esta transformación permite la especulación y la reducción de la función social de la vivienda, como una necesidad social esencial y un derecho humano fundamental.
Además, una mezcla de nuevas leyes y desregulación facilita la posibilidad de que el sector privado financie y permita la especulación.
Contra el poder de las finanzas en la vivienda y en las ciudades. Decidimos tener una campaña de amplia base que habla sobre las diversas formas de financiarización, y daba una gran oportunidad a los grupos miembros para impulsar sus propios problemas. Aunque esto hubo un acuerdo general para tener una campaña de concienciación que incluía luchas locales.
Los bancos, las élites, los inversores y los desarrolladores inmobiliarios se han vuelto aún más ricos, mientras que las desigualdades crecen. Las ejecuciones hipotecarias, los desalojos forzosos y la falta de vivienda aumentan en Europa a medida que disminuye la oferta de vivienda y se privatiza con fondos de inversión. Por otro lado, se construyen apartamentos de lujo y espacios de oficinas que permanecen vacíos. La vivienda se ha convertido en una mercancía.
Las causas subyacentes de estos procesos están siendo descubiertas y denunciadas; la acumulación de capital en nuestras ciudades conduce a la mercantilización y la financiarización de la vivienda, en beneficio del sector privado y en detrimento de los habitantes de las ciudades. Las ciudades se usan para generar ganancias. Se violan los derechos humanos a la vivienda y a la ciudad.
Llamamos a todos los movimientos europeos de vivienda, también a la sociedad en general, a alzar sus voces contra la financiarización de nuestras ciudades y hogares. Exigimos viviendas decentes y asequibles para todos.
Hace unos días nos reunimos con Fátima Lorenzo directora ejecutiva de Ciudades Alternativas República Dominicana invitadas por las compañeras de Oxfam Intermon en la ciudad de Valencia.
Estuvimos intercambiando experiencias en la lucha por la vivienda digna y nos contaron que Oxfam Intermón junto con colectivos y movimientos sociales de República Dominicana como CasaYa y Ciudades Alternativas han lanzado la campaña #CambiemoPrioridades que tiene como objetivo que el gobierno dominicano destine el 1% del PIB anual, que actualmente no gasta de forma eficiente ya que se destina a entidades duplicadas, gastos de representación, publicidad, etc., a reducir el problema de vivienda que sufre el 71% de la población.
Exactamente 6.738.423 personas en República Dominicana carecen de vivienda digna, es decir, que no tienen vivienda o si la tienen no reúne las condiciones básicas de habitabilidad (suministros, sanitarios, etc.) y están construidas con materiales inadecuados, aun siendo un derecho constitucional igual que en España.
A pesar de que República Dominicana ha sido la economía con mayor crecimiento en los últimos 30 años en América Latina, la inmensa mayoría de la población queda excluida de los frutos de ese desarrollo. El 45% de la población está en riesgo de exclusión social.
República Dominicana es un país conocido como un lugar paradisíaco para ir de vacaciones, esconde una realidad de desigualdad extrema que impide que millones de personas en el país no vivan dignamente.
Piden apoyo a la campaña firmando la postal dirigida al Presidente de RD, una declaración de apoyo o entrando en la web y firmando www.cambiemoslasprioridades.org
Nosotras le contamos como poco a poco nuestra campaña Romper desde abajo, donde empezamos a intentar cambiar las políticas en materia de vivienda en Ayuntamientos con mociones, en Comunidades autónomas con las Leyes Autonómicas de Vivienda y que estábamos en el punto de llegar a instancias del Congreso y presentar nuestra #LeyViviendaPAH a nivel Estatal.
Les hemos explicado las 5 demandas, el texto legal, y la campaña que llevábamos y hemos quedado en compartir todo este material para que puedan leerlas y tenerlas en cuenta.
A few days ago we met with Fatima Lorenzo executive director of Alternative Cities Dominican Republic invited by the partners of Oxfam Intermon in the city of Valencia.
We were exchanging experiences in the struggle for decent housing and told us that Oxfam Intermón together with groups and social movements of the Dominican Republic as CasaYa and Alternative Cities have launched the campaign #CambiemoPrioridades that aims to the Dominican government allocate 1% of GDP Annual, which does not currently spend efficiently since it is intended for duplicate entities, representation expenses, advertising, etc., to reduce the housing problem suffered by 71% of the population.
Exactly 6,738,423 people in the Dominican Republic lack decent housing, that is, they do not have housing or if they do not have the basic conditions of habitability (supplies, sanitary, etc.) and are built with inadequate materials, even being a right Constitutional as in Spain.
Although the Dominican Republic has been the fastest growing economy in the last 30 years in Latin America, the vast majority of the population is excluded from the fruits of that development. 45% of the population is at risk of social exclusion.
Dominican Republic is a country known as a paradisiac place to go on vacation, hides a reality of extreme inequality that prevents millions of people in the country do not live worthily.
They ask for support for the campaign by signing the postcard addressed to the President of the DR, a statement of support or entering the web and signing www.cambiemoslasprioridades.org
We tell you how slowly our campaign Break from below, where we began to try to change the policies on housing in municipalities with motions, in autonomous Communities with the Regional Laws of Housing and that we were on the point of arriving at the request of Congress And present our #LeyViviendaPAH at State level.
We have explained the 5 demands, the legal text, and the campaign we had and we have been left to share all this material so that they can read them and take them into account.
On June 20th we learned that the United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ESCR) stated that eviction of tenants without a housing alternative, under its current regulations, constitutes a violation of the Human Right to Adequate Housing. The Committee judged a case of eviction by termination of the rental contract of a room, taking place in 2013 in the district of Tetuán in Madrid (Spain), which ended with a family of four sleeping in a car. Neither the Municipal Social Services nor the Housing Institute of the Community of Madrid (IVIMA, by its Spanis acronym) nor the Court itself prevented the eviction; neither did they provide housing for a family unit with two children aged 1 and 3 years old at the time1.
In its conclusions, the United Nations declares a violation by the Spanish State, ordering the reparation of the damage caused to the family and urging the Government to put forward a plan of profound reform in the matters of rent and housing within a period of 6 months, as the Committee appreciates a situation of structural breach of rights. You may consult the ruling following this link (in Spanish):
The conclusions of the United Nations point to State responsibilities with implications for all of its government levels, from municipal social services, unable to attend something as basic as a family’s right to adequate housing, to the Congress of Deputies2, responsible for a procedural legislation that turns the courts into management offices for the housing market without even allowing judges to take into consideration the situation in which the people who are going to be evicted are left.
As we have denounced after hundreds of thousands of evictions since 2009, in Spain there is a structural violation of the Right to Housing enshrined in the Declaration of Human Rights and in the Spanish Constitution of 1978, with irreparable social damages for the most vulnerable sectors of society.
This horrific outlook of social emergency has led the Platform for People Affected by Mortgages. (PAH) and the housing movement in general to organize to stop thousands of forced evictions and recover thousands of empty apartments from financial institutions to turn them into homes. In doing this, we have verified that the struggle for the Right to Housing relates to people with mortgage, indebted, evicted, renting a house, working without fixed contract, squatting, inhabitants of self-constructed homes and homeless people, bringing us all together in the face of abuses of a ruthless housing market3.
In this regard, the victory of the Madrid family that has sued the State with the result of this legal sentence is also a victory for the whole movement. This reaffirms our reasons and makes civil disobedience campaigns (such as #StopDesahucios = StopEvictions, Obra Social to rehouse people in empty bank-owned apartments and others) and proposals to change unjust laws (such as Popular Legislative Initiatives and #LeyViviendaPAH = PAH Housing Law) more necessary than ever.
Our proposal for a Housing Law that includes several of the United Nations recommendations will be discussed in Congress in September. In this context, the PAH will demand that all congressmen and congresswomen take a stand on compliance with Human Rights in housing, as we have demanded every day in the streets for the past eight years.
We will not put up with more violations of Human Rights,
We will not tolerate any further evictions!
Platform for People Affected by Mortgages., July 6, 2017.
1 The UN points out as particularly glaring the inaction of Madrid’s autonomic authorities, which claimed lack of enough housing to protect this family (and thousands of others also evicted in the region), while at the same time public housing was sold to international capital vulture funds. See ruling, paragraph 17.
2 Constitutional body representing the Spanish people.
3 The Spanish government claimed via its representative in front of the United Nations that rental contracts among individuals are extraneous to the State’s responsibility, which may not interfere in “private” business. The Spanish government denied as well any wrongdoing, going so far as to claim that the rental market is not subjected to international Human Rights law.
With the topic “Capital and the City” this years’ meeting of European Action Coalition for the Right to Housing and to the City delves into the connection between the city and the economic powers that increasingly seek to plunder it. In particular, we look at the position of housing and large urban development agendas in this, having become among the main processes driving contemporary global capitalism.
Where cities are for most a home, for some they are investment vehicles. That in itself is nothing new, but the degree to which we, the inhabitants, are becoming subjected to this is unprecedented. And as to be expected, this leads to extreme excesses on both sides of exploitative reality.
On the one side, we can recognise how inhabitants over the years have become increasingly vulnerable in sustaining their housing situation – with the devastating impact of mortgage defaults, evictions or even outright fraudulent expropriations, the lives of often the most defenceless have been ruined as result.
On the other side, we can witness a cloud of restless international capital hovering over our cities, seeking for investment opportunities in an increasingly nervous economic climate.
Over the last decade, most of the money “created” by private banks has been channelled into real-estate, rather than into “productive” parts of the economy. This results directly in higher housing prices and bubbles in financial markets. It may be clear that those investments are not made to provide their investors with a sustainable housing situation – rather, they create assets for which inhabitation has never been a priority. Empty shells of real-estate “excellence” in international investment schemes. For most of us, there is obviously no place in this market.
It is not accidental that this topic features prominently at the meeting in Belgrade. Not only a trajectory of over 25 years of manipulatively engineered economic crisis, poverty for large part of the population, but equally emerging business opportunities to a select number of individuals have created a playing field for devastating urban practices and forms of city development.
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