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This September in Venice! Global capital of resistance to tourism evictions

It’s time to speak up: people around the world denounce your tourism-related eviction! This call for solidarity was announced at the press conference to launch the sixth Session of the International Tribunal on Evictions (ITE), which will take place in Venice at the opening of the World Zero Evictions Days in the framework of the International Year of Tourism.

The Press Conference, organized by the International Alliance of Inhabitants in Venice on June 13, 2017, in partnership with the Local Organizing Committee at Unione Inquilini, was attended by Cesare Ottolini, Global IAI Coordinator, Soha Ben Slama, ITE Coordinator, both representatives of the International Steering Committee of the ITE, as well as Matelda Bottoni, secretary of the Unione Inquilini Venice, Chiara Buratti, the Assemblea Sociale per la Casa Mestre-Marghera-Venezia, Matteo Secchi, venessia.com and Ernesto Urban, Garanzia, representing “Generazione '90” and the Eddyburg Social Promotion Association.

One by one, the participants denounced the multiple human rights violations caused by tourism, and in particular the right to housing and land, in spite of the fact it is supposed to be included in the sustainable development programme referred to by the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).

While sustainable tourism for development requires a balance between the needs and capacities of the territory, together with  the close involvement of local actors, the ecological responsibility and the economic, social, land and environmental precautions, its impact on the quality of life of local populations and the environment has often proved to be in violation of these principles, whether in cities of historical and artistic interest, or in rural and environmental protection areas.

Venice is one of the saddest examples, with its massive depopulation caused by tourism, reducing it to 54,000 inhabitants from the 175,000 it had in 1953. A notable example is the island of Pellestrina, a fishing island where landlords no longer rent to residents but only to tourists, and that is only the tip of an enormous and scandalous iceberg.

While the local government does nothing to deal with this deadly haemorrhage, a vibrant, active and determined civil society organizes daily activities and supports the struggles against evictions and depopulation; hence the decision to hold the ITE Session in Venice, a decision that converges with the wish of the IAI to give continued support to this vital component of the Zero Evictions Campaign, launched for the first time in 2011 after the alarm was raised by local organizations.

Thus, the event will be held in Venice from 28 to 30 September 2017, the world capital of resistance to “abusive” tourism with a well-articulated programme, which will start on the 28th with a visit to the islands and districts of “resistance Venice”, and then on September 29th and 30th will be held the ITE Session. Seven eviction cases will be selected for examination from all the cases arriving at the ITE website before the deadline, including 1 from each continent and 2 from Venice, Italy. The afternoon of the 30th will be spent on a discussion between mayors, social organizations and professionals from several countries, with the goal of finding alternative solutions to deal with tourism based on full respect for all the rights and responsibilities of the inhabitants.

The ITE verdict, in the form of Recommendations drafted by a Jury of international experts, will be read in front of the ‘Zero Evictions’ monument/installation, which will be specially created for the event, as a road map to follow for the cases judged and a reference point for the international solidarity necessary for their implementation.

All of this will take place in total independence and in an atmosphere of commitment and culture, with video projections and concerts organised by the social and cultural organizations of Venice.

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El(la) siguiente Traductor(a) Voluntario(a) por el derecho a la vivienda sin fronteras de la AIH colaboró con la traducción de este texto:

Pascale Stephenson


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