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What is the International Tribunal on Evictions?

The International Tribunal on Evictions is an opinion tribunal established by civil society organisations for the World Zero Evictions Days – for the Right to Habitat to practically and interactively discuss the question of forced evictions around the world. The Tribunal relies on their expertise and on the appointment of a competent and approved Jury, as well as on the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) and other instruments of international law in order to pass judgment on real cases of forced evictions that constitute human rights violations.

What are the objectives of the Tribunal?

  • Make cases of forced eviction known to a wide audience.
  • Give the floor to the people and communities who are struggling against forced evictions of their homes and/or land, and for the right to adequate housing.
  • Bring to light all kinds of threats and violence that are carried out against the defenders of human rights who fight for the right to housing and land.
  • Put forward and announce recommendations for these cases of forced eviction, in order to support in solidarity the campaigns led by the people and communities concerned, and the local, national, and international organisations that support them.

Schedule for the Tribunal

Cases of Forced Eviction

The cases of forced eviction to be presented before the Tribunal have been selected from a large number of cases that were submitted following the circulation of an international ‘appeal for cases’ on the websites of the Tribunal, the IAI and other partner organisations. The cases to be presented in the 2013 edition of the Tribunal were selected by the 2013 Tribunal Organising Committee for their emblematic quality and because they express a certain diversity in the cases of eviction.

Composition and role of the Jury

The Jury is made up of experts in the subject of housing rights, who come from the academic field, NGOs, national and international bodies and activist organisations.

During the Tribunal Session, the members of the Jury, to be provided with detailed cases, will listen attentively as a case is presented by its witness and will ask questions for clarification which will allow them to provide recommendations at the end of the Tribunal.

Before the session begins, the Jury will meet to get to know each other and choose their rapporteur, whose responsibility involves in particular coordinating the drafting of the recommendations and reading them under a solemn act which is scheduled into the Tribunal programme.

Moderating the Tribuna l

An external person (moderator) ensures the smooth running of the Tribunal Session. He or she introduces the Session, presents the Jury, welcomes the case witnesses to the podium, ensures the time management of speeches by various panellists, facilitates responses by the audience, and ensures compliance with the rules.

Each evictions case will be presented in a set amount of time by the witness without interruption. In a second phase, the panel of experts on the Jury will have a certain amount of time to question the witness with a view to putting together precise recommendations which have legal and social significance. In the meantime, a list will be circulated to the audience so that the moderator can give the floor to any possible speakers who have any comments or relevant questions, or who wish raise a similar case as illustration.

At the end of the day, a workshop will be led by a Facilitator appointed by the Tribunal Organising Committee which will allow the key players to discuss the different cases, to share ideas and to capitalise on the experience of the Tribunal to ensure its continuation.

The contents will also be transcribed and published on the Tribunal website  and partners’ websites in order to divulge the results of these interactive sessions.

Following the Tribunal

Following the Session, the Jury will meet to draft the recommendations for each of the presented cases. The recommendations will be made public at the Inhabitants’ March at the Place des Nations, in front of the Palais des Nations in Geneva on Saturday 19th October 2013. These recommendations will be addressed to the economic and institutional actors responsible for the forced evictions presented at the Tribunal Session, as well as the civil society organisations who support the affected inhabitants. The recommendations will be sent to them, as well as to the representatives of their governments in Geneva and to other relevant actors that the Jury decides should be aware of them (Special procedures of the United Nations, CESCR, etc.)

Follow-up of these recommendations is guaranteed by the Tribunal Organising Committee, the partner organisations and the people who presented the cases or their organisation/network in the field.

Organisers of the International Tribunal for Evictions

The Tribunal is an event organised in 2013 within the framework of the World Zero Evictions Days - for the Right to Habitat in Geneva by PALC in partnership with the International Alliance of Inhabitants and in collaboration with Amnesty International; with the participation of the most important international networks for the right to habitat as well as Swiss inhabitants organisations.

Who supports the Tribunal

This opinion Tribunal is a joint tool, organized by PAL in partnership with the International Alliance of Inhabitants, and supported by the 2013 World Assembly of Inhabitants, which includes over 270 inhabitant organizations, networks and other social movements from more than 45 countries on all continents.

It also counts on the collaboration of organizations which are devoted to the defense of human rights, such as Amnesty International, and it is also recognized by the United Nation’s Special Rapporteur on the Right to Adequate Housing.

The Tribunal is maintained thanks to the pooling of social capital and the volunteering of members of sponsoring organizations, as well as the partnership with the City of Geneva.


History of the Tribunal

It its origins, the idea to bring together actors from the North and South on the topic of housing and land planning, particularly following the World Social Forum and the World Assembly of Inhabitants in Dakar 2011, sparked the ForuMMedia Habitat Participatif 2011 which comprised the first attempt to promote a participative approach aimed as much towards habitat as towards media tools. Effectively, it seemed necessary to create an event that would enable better cohesion between initiatives on the subject of urban cooperation and participative planning. Initiated by PALC and the International Alliance of Inhabitants, and under the auspices of the World Zero Evictions Days - for the Right to Habitat, the ForuMMedia Habitat Participatif, which includes the Tribunal for Evictions, has attracted the interest of various actors who care about the Right for Housing.

In 2012, those who had volunteered to organise an international event were joined together in the vision to create a Forum of reference, with the particular contribution of UrbaMonde acting as the event’s organising association and the Swiss Section of Amnesty International acting as official partner.

After the success of the 2012 edition, the third Session includes a proposal to make the Tribunal a permanent fixture, as a point of reference that can be used by everybody.

This opinion Tribunal has now become a fixed term and a joint tool supported by the World Assembly of Inhabitants 2013 which counts on more than 270 inhabitants organisations, networks and other subjects and social movements from more than 45 countries in all continents, as well as on the recognition of the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Adequate Housing.

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Chloe Spreadborough


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