The Advisory Group on Forced Evictions (AGFE) is currently undertaking a fact-finding mission to the city of New Orleans, in the United States.
The assessment is taking place between July 26 to 31st 2009 and the mission will present its report with findings and recommendations to the Executive Director of UN-HABITAT, Mrs. Anna Tibaijuka. The insights from the AGFE mission are expected to inform UN-HABITAT’s global work on forced evictions in the context of post-disaster reconstruction.
AGFE advises the Executive Director of UN-HABITAT in addressing unlawful forced evictions and promoting alternative solutions. UN-HABITAT established AGFE in 2004 in response to a resolution by its Governing Council. The Group comprises individuals from academic, governmental, nongovernmental and community-based organizations from around the world. (www.unhabitat.org/unhrp)
The AGFE mission was requested by the National Economic and Social Rights Initiative (NESRI), a non-governmental organisation that has been working with resident organisations in New Orleans with the aim of ensuring equitable rebuilding for the city. The mission is composed of AGFE Members Leilani Farha and Leticia Osorio, as well as Tiffany Gardner, Eric Tars and Sam Jackson from the AGFE pool of technical experts.
The objective of the mission is to document ongoing events and to assess the alleged forced displacements and evictions. The focus is equally on efforts to resettle the evictees, and possible solutions to improve their housing conditions.
The AGFE mission is carrying out visits to the sites of public housing earmarked for demolition, to Mid City, to the Lower Ninth Ward, and to homeless shelters. Based on its neutrality, the AGFE mission is meeting with all key stakeholders, including government and civil society representatives. The experts are trying to find out the needs and challenges of the residents in rebuilding their homes or in securing alternative affordable housing. After New Orleans, the mission is meeting with Federal officials in Washington DC who work on post disaster recovery.