Debate | The UN Guidelines on Forced Evictions: A Useful Soft-Law Instrument?
As a follow-up to our Special Issue on Large-Scale Land Acquisitions, the former UN Special Rapporteur on Housing, Miloon Kothari, and Patricia Vasquez, Research Associate at CCDP, Geneva, debate over strengths and weaknesses of the United Nations Guidelines on Forced Evictions.
In the initial paper, Miloon Kothari puts the establishment of the United Nations Guidelines on evictions in the context of growing international concerns with the negative impact of land grabbing on local populations; describes their main features; and highlights their uses in different spheres (academia, jurisprudence, development practice and human rights advocacy). He then concludes with a positive assessment of this soft-law instrument, but he also stresses that much more remains to be done to ensure the protection of international human rights standards. In her comments, Patricia Vasquez suggests that Kothari’s comprehensive evaluation of the Guidelines could benefit from a more in-depth analysis of the lessons learned in the implementation of other soft-law instruments developed in recent years to counter evictions related to land grabbing.
Miloon Kothari is the former UN Special Rapporteur on adequate housing with the UN Human Rights Council and founder and former Executive Director of the Housing and Land Rights Network, India. An architect by training and public scholar/activist, he has extensive experience in the area of housing, land rights and evictions and is currently lecturer in urban planning at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA.
Patricia I. Vasquez is a Research Associate at the Graduate Institute’s Centre on Conflict, Development and Peacebuilding (CCDP) and an independent researcher on issues related to conflicts and extractive industries, with a focus on Latin America and East Africa. She is now based in Kenya, where she has been studying the development of the newly found oil and gas reserves in East Africa (Kenya, Uganda and Somalia), mainly for the World Bank and UNEP.
Further comments will follow in the coming weeks. We invite the initial authors and any interested readers to share their comments and views.