PUBLIC STATEMENT, AI Index: EUR 44/007/2014, 14 March 2014
Amnesty International calls on all candidates and parties contesting local elections in Turkey to commit to conduct urban transformation projects only in a way which respects the human rights of all residents.
Municipalities controlled by different parties in cities across Turkey have, up till now conducted urban transformation projects in ways which result in forced evictions and fail to respect the right to adequate housing as set out in the International Covenant on Social, Economic and Cultural rights to which Turkey is a party.
Lack of genuine consultation: Local authorities have failed to conduct genuine consultations with residents or to give adequate notice of evictions. Urban transformation projects have been conducted in areas where some of Turkey’s poorest and most marginalized groups live.
No adequate compensation or alternative housing: Lack of adequate compensation or provision of affordable alternative housing to those who cannot provide for themselves has driven residents further into poverty, forced people into even more substandard housing and left others homeless.
No transparency: Urban transformation projects have been conducted by local municipalities in partnership with private companies in a way that lack full transparency.
Amnesty International calls on the authorities to provide effective remedies to all those who have been forcibly evicted as a result of urban regeneration projects.
Local authorities have an obligation to uphold Turkey’s international human rights commitments every bit as much as the central government.
Amnesty International therefore calls on all candidates and parties to commit to the following standards when conducting urban transformation projects within their municipality:
Explore all alternatives to evictions in genuine consultation with all residents, including tenants and people living in houses without title deeds;
Provide all affected people with complete information on evictions, compensation and options on alternative housing in a form and language they understand;
If evictions are the only feasible option, undertake genuine consultation with affected people on the process of evictions, options for compensation and alternative housing;
Provide information on legal and administrative avenues to challenge decisions and legal aid available;
Explain the outcome of the consultation process to the affected people and ways in which their concerns have been addressed;
Once consultations are completed, provide all affected people with adequate notice in writing as well as verbally, including rationale, time and date of eviction, resettlement and avenues for legal remedies;
No one should be made homeless or vulnerable to other human rights violations as a result of an eviction;
All grievances must be resolved and alternative housing must be provided before the date of eviction;
Alternative housing must meet international standards of adequacy including security of tenure, affordability, adequacy of space, availability of services and location;
Monitor conditions of evicted people to ensure that they are able to access their human rights after the eviction.
On 17 March 2014, Amnesty International will announce the names of all the candidates who have declared their support for and accepted our recommendations and inform the public about the candidates that have made a commitment to pursuing human rights compliant urban transformation projects.