In Summary
  • A home should be a sanctuary; a place to live in peace, security and dignity.

  • Forced evictions have become the norm with little attention being paid to its effect on the livelihoods and dignity of evictees.

  • Evictees are often denied access to basic services such as water or sanitation.

Adequate and affordable housing featured as one of the President’s key ‘Big Four’ agenda items, an important commitment given the state of housing in Kenya.

Housing is more than four walls and a roof: It is the basis of stability and security for an individual or family. It is the centre of our social, emotional and, sometimes, economic lives.

A home should be a sanctuary; a place to live in peace, security and dignity.

But housing is increasingly being viewed as a commodity to be sold to the highest bidder, forgetting that it is, most importantly, a human right.

Under international law, to be adequately housed means having secure tenure — not having to worry about being evicted or having your home or lands taken away.

SERVICES

It means living somewhere that is in keeping with your culture, with access to appropriate services.

However, forced evictions have become the norm with little attention being paid to its effect on the livelihoods and dignity of evictees. It is no longer seen as a rights issue.

Too often, violations of the right to housing occur with impunity. The recent inhumanely eviction of the Sengwer from Embobut Forest shows how citizens can be disenfranchised of their property rights despite a law and policies against such.

Thousands are visibly and invisibly evicted from Nairobi’s Deep Sea informal settlement.

They include families in crammed shacks without the most basic of services, who may be evicted at a moment’s notice, often for a second or third time.

EVICTEES

Then there is the aspect of evictions rarely mentioned, let alone tackled: Criminalisation, penalisation, discrimination and stigmatisation.

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