Home » КАМПАНИЯ ЗА МИР БЕЗ ВЫСЕЛЕНИЙ » World Zero Evictions Day 2008 » News » Luanda: For full citizenship and a harmonious habitat

Mostra/Nascondi il menu


Luanda: For full citizenship and a harmonious habitat


SOS Habitat – Solidarity Action

On the occasion of World Habitat Day

6th October 2008 -

1. Although we were not invited to take part in the official World Habitat Day celebrations, we would like to express our deepest thanks on behalf of SOS Habitat to United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon for choosing the City of Luanda as the setting for the global observance of World Habitat Day.

2. To His Excellency the UN Secretary-General, we would also like to express that SOS Habitat identifies fully with the theme selected by the United Nations for this year’s World Habitat Day celebrations (Harmonious Cities). The meaning of this theme in many ways reflects the motto/aim of the work of SOS Habitat, which is to achieve “...full citizenship and a harmonious habitat” for all.

3. Despite our reservations regarding the housing-related human rights violations committed through projects carried out by government and by related private-sector groups, we would like to express to our appreciation to the Government of Angola for hosting the global observance of this celebration.

4. We consider it important to mention that these reservations began and have been aggravated (destroying our initial faith in the Government’s intentions of simply ordering the city), because these violations have been committed in order to fulfill a need to implement a “separate urban development”. A social apartheid – not declared but de facto – in process of implementation, with its foundations currently being consolidated through the use of force by the State against the people which we, on many occasions, have witnessed or suffered, as it has also been directed towards pacifist activists from SOS Habitat.

5. As a result, we are obliged to state that the violations of human rights that we have been documenting and disseminating pose a clear obstacle to the realisation by citizens of a harmonious city and that

(a) regardless of the country in which they are verified, human rights violations that go unpunished quash and/or prevent the implementation of the rule of law and (b) the refusal to ensure full citizenship for all always ends up breeding conflict, in some form and to some extent. This is a risk to which neither the governors nor the governed should expose the country again, instead adopting processes of compliance with the law and opting for the inclusion of all in the formulation and implementation of the development agenda.

6. We would like to request that those who govern the city consider the notion that the cities are a product of those who inhabit them, in conjunction with the available resources, the leadership and the skills of those who govern them. We ask and would appreciate the acknowledgement that each city will always be the product of its inhabitants and that as a result, none of its inhabitants should be excluded. In order for the City of Luanda to become a harmonious city, it is of utmost importance to take into account the fact that the majority of the urban population lives in a situation of extreme poverty and exclusion, and will only continue to produce the ‘musseques’ [informal settlements] of Luanda whilst they remain in this situation of poverty and exclusion that prevents the development and well-being of the people.

7. In the hopes that this will also be considered by those who retain state power at the highest level, and by those organisations charged with urban planning and management, we would like to reaffirm to the Government and its partners that SOS Habitat continues to be open and ready to collaborate with the Public Adminstration and with the programmes of the current and future governments. If this collaboration is established, we will be the most dedicated and loyal of partners, as long as this does not imply an obligation of tacit silence if and when – as has been taking place – any organisation, programme, agent or client of the state commits violations of human rights, regardless of who they may be. This stance has been communicated on various occasions to the current Minister of Urban Planning and his Vice-minister. We have never received a response. We will continue to wait and, in the meantime, will continue to act in a consistent manner towards the respect of the rights of all citizens in order to support, in this way, the realisation of full citizenship and of a harmonious habitat in our city, Luanda, which we hope – as a matter of urgency – will become the most harmonious of cities.

Luiz Araújo
Coordenador da Direcção