A roof over one’s head is an essential right as stipulated under article 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
The right to housing
In Makoko, one of Lagos’ poorest neighbourhoods, thousands of people are crammed into precarious dwellings built on stilts.
Furthermore, over 3,000 families have been violently evicted from their neighbourhoods, where some have lived for at least 50 years. Without warning, they lost everything.
So under the pretext of ridding Lagos of petty delinquents and unhealthy areas, hundreds of thousands of families living in shantytowns have been thrown out and their lives torn apart.
As a result, people who have practically nothing have been left even more destitute.Yet shouldn’t urban development benefit the people already living there?
“Forced evictions should be illegal. The city of Lagos needs to be developed, but it can’t be done by demolishing schools, churches, homes and the lives of penniless people”, explains Félix Morka, Executive Director of the Social and Economic Rights Action Center (SERAC).
SERAC not only defends the rights of evicted people, but works with them to develop positive sustainable development projects. For instance, a housing co-op is in the works in Lagos. A nearby brick factory will use recycled materials, thereby reducing housing construction costs while creating jobs for young people.
You can help us fight for human rights in Nigeria and elsewhere in the world by giving generously. More than one billion people live in insecure housing, while 100 million are still without homes.
Yet much can be achieved. That’s where DEVELOPMENT AND PEACE, partnering with other like-minded organizations, steps in. For example, in Paraguay, SERPAJ encourages citizen participation in the poorest parts. In Philippines, UPA offers training and documentation on demolition projects that affect vulnerable communities.In Brazil, MAB holds training and educational activities.