World Habitat Day: Stopping Forced Evictions Worldwide

Tarpaulin covering the remains of a house demolished in a forced eviction, September 2011 © Nora Lindstrom

By Meghna Abraham, Head of the Economic, Social and Cultural Rights Team at Amnesty International

You come home in the evening, after a long day’s work. Your children are sitting at a table, finishing their homework. Suddenly, some government officials arrive with a bulldozer to demolish your home.

You may have had a week’s notice, or a day or none at all. You did not have enough time to legally challenge the eviction or even to make a list of the belongings which you may lose.


In Istanbul, Forced Evictions of City's Most Vulnerable

Besra, a single mother with a small child, returned from visiting her mother in the hospital to find her door broken in.  Officials forced her to vacate her home immediately, throwing her belongings out onto the street.

Istanbul Evictions

A number of vulnerable families in the Tarlabaşı district have already been evicted © Jonathan Lewis

Another resident, an unemployed 60-year-old man with a lung condition, told Amnesty International that he had been forced to sign eviction notices that he was not allowed to read.

According to Andrew Gardner, Amnesty International’s researcher on Turkey,

“Most of those facing eviction have not been given adequate notice. They have not been consulted, provided with legal remedies, or offered adequate alternative housing or compensation. This is a violation of their human rights. There must also be an investigation into the allegations of harassment by public officials.”