HABITAT Meets in Brazil Before Sports Evictions, No Angola Follow-up
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, April 3 -- While the UN talks a good game, often neither
neither the past or future's solved. Taking UN HABITAT, which bragged
on April 1 about its World Urban Forum in Brazil. Inner City Press
asked, what about the threatened evictions for the upcoming World Cup
and Olympics? We talked about that, was the answer. But what if any
commitments were obtained?
HABITAT held an event in Angola, Inner City Press asked about
evictions there. HABITAT responded that it chose to stay quiet, in
exchange for a commitment
that some percentage of Angola's oil would
be devoted to poor housing.
have continued, have gotten worse in fact. Click here. When Inner
raised this on April 1, HABITAT's presented implied that the purpose
of the evictions was to create better housing for the poor. Video
But in fact in these evictions, no replacement housing was
promised, no recompense for that destroyed.
representatives highlighted that their conference was held in a
previously derelict port area, and therefore did not itself displace
people but rather "revitalized." One wonders of HABITAT's
views on gentrification and other forms of displacement.
UN's Ban with Habitat in Kenya, evictions not shown
sports events, what did the UN or HABITAT do in the face of, according
million people displaced for the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. "Residents
were relocated on a large scale. Mass evictions were reported,
sometimes conduced by unidentified men."
- World Cup in South Africa
than 20,000 residents have been removed and transferred to
impoverished areas of the city. The minister for Housing noted that
plans to build thousands of low-cost housing units could be affected
by changes in the demands of the World Cup budget.
- Commonwealth Games in New Delhi
New Delhi, India, 35,000 families were evicted from public land in
preparation for the games.
is HABITAT on
this? Watch this site.
* * *
Guatemalan President Admits Mining Abuse, Goldcorp Challenged, on Laws,
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, February 17 -- Abuse by mining firms of rural Guatemala,
particularly indigenous communities, has become systemic. Even
President Alvaro Colom, when asked Wednesday by Inner City Press at
the UN about the abuses had to admit that the current law "is
not suitable." Video here,
from Minute 18:32.
asked President Colom whether his government will respect the
decision of several communities to be "mine free." Colom
replied that "with respect to mines and the mining law, promoted
in 1997, honestly, it's a bad law... Not only when it comes to
royalties [but also] environment and natural resources [and] the
rights of indigenous people to give their opinion."
signatory of the UN Convention on the Rights of Indigenous People,
and Colom says his government will abide by it. He said he has not
issued a single new mining license. The former government, he said,
did authorize many, some of which have been frozen.
not enough. In late 2009, for example, Maudilia
Lopez Cardona and Carmen Mejia Aguilar on behalf of the residents of
San Miguel Ixtahuacan, a municipality in southwestern Guatemala
traveled to Canada to file a complaint with the government against
They documented that Goldcorp's "Marlin mine
water supplies and damaged homes while the company harassed
protesters." The complaint was submitted under Organization for
Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) guidelines for
multinational firms. We'll see.
President Colom, pointing finger (elsewhere) at UN
President Colom also spoke, with Secretary
General Ban Ki-moon
and then the Press, about the UN affiliated International Commission
against Impunity in Guatemala. Inner City Press previously
interviewed the head of CICIG Carlos Castresana on such topics as his
prosecution of the murders of bus drivers and his advocacy for a
President Colom on Wednesday, when Inner City
Press asked about
the rejection of the Commission's recommendation that three "corrupt"
judges not be put on the Supreme Court, cited the Commission's work
on the wiretapping law, as well as on an updated arms and munitions
law. He said he did not intervene in the placing of the three judges
on the court due to separation of powers. "If we don't want
impunity, we have to respect the division of powers," he said. Again,