LEARNING, REFLECTING AND ACTING FOR A HUMAN RIGHTS FUTURE

A TRAINING MANUAL FOR THE EDUCATION OF THE HUMAN RIGHT TO HOUSING IN URBAN COMMUNITIES

Prepared by:
TERESITA V. BARRAMEDA
LEA L. ESPALLARDO

A Project Funded by the
People's Decade of Human Rights Education
(PDHRE - International)

Participatory Research, Organization of Communities and Education
Towards Struggle for Self-Reliance
(PROCESS, Inc.)

May, 1996

In Partnership With:
PDHRE - INTERNATIONAL
People's Decade of Human Rights Education

IN SUPPORT OF THE UN DECADE OF HUMAN RIGHTS EDUCATION (1995 - 2004)

PROCESS, Inc.
Rm. 301, PSSC Bldg.
Commonwealth Ave., Diliman,
Quezon City, Philippines
Tel./Fax (632) 928-97-45

PDHRE - International
People's Decade of Human Rights Education
526 West 111th Street, Suite 4E, New York, NY 10025, USA
Tel: (212) 749-3156 | Fax: (212) 666-6325
E-mail: pdhre@igc.org


ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

We would like to thank the following people and organizations who have helped us for the completion of this work:


Table of Contents

FOREWORD
(by Shulamith B. Koenig)

INTRODUCTION

MODULE I: COURSE ORIENTATION / INTRODUCTION

MODULE II: THE URBAN POOR AND THEIR SITUATION

MODULE III: TOWARDS A COMMON VISION

Supplemental Text
PHILIPPINE LAWS ON HOUSING AND HUMAN SETTLEMENTS

  1. Philippine Laws
  2. International Laws

FOREWORD by Shulamith B. Koenig

Shulamith B. Koenig is the founder and Executive Director of
the People's Decade of Human Rights Education (PDHRE)

The Imperatives of Human Rights Education

In Septemer 1995, at the Fourth World Conference on Women, the People's Decade of Human Rights Education had organized a nine-day Institute for Human Rights Education: women from twenty-two countries, across the globe, presented human rights education training manuals, which each of the 22 has prepared in her community. The manuals focused on how varied and diverse communities can learn about women's human rights and gender equality. At the conclusion of this successful program we were all positive in our conviction that if all people understood all social and economic injustices as human rights violations and that the enforcement of human rights norms and standards become fundamental to all political and social decisions, we will all be on road to the realization of justice.

What interested most of the participants was: How do we learn to belong and how do we learn to behave? How do we dance our lives in step with human rights? How do we commit our lives to weaving a human rights culture? How do we once and for all undermine patriarchy to bring about a new form of human rights communities where power struggles are the memory of the past? How do we learn about justice? How do we learn to love our neighbor as we love ourselves? How do we have young men refuse to go to war and physicist, engineers and chemist refuse to deliver nuclear weapons or chemical weapons, or land mines, and for that matter land and water polluting factories? How do we have men stop beating their wives? How do we stop parents from beating and humiliating their children? How do we make sure that human rights are democratically accessible in all societies? How do we assure that basic human needs such as food, shelter, education, health care and work are available to them in dignity.

And most importantly, how do we learn to look at 5.7 billion people in the eye as we say to one another: what we are is good, and what we are is worthy, and what you are is a contribution by which this world may become a better place to live in? How do we learn to move from fear to trust and learn to live in community — with the other in dignity and trust? How do we look at innocent victims of a careless and often ruthless system in the eye and say without patronizing: your struggle regardless of where it is, is ours too! How can human rights educators in our communities be humble and responsible in our task and steadfastly challenge a system that continues to violate and abuse the most fundamental of human rights of the poor? How?

There are many answers to these questions, some of them are in this manual. The authors of Learning, Reflecting and Acting for A Human Rights Future, who have also participate as trainers in the Institute at the women's Conference in China, have focused on how the injustice imposed on the homeless urban poor, and land not available to the rural poor can be understood by society as a whole to be a human rights violation? and how can the oppressed learn to claim their human rights by having their society respect international human rights law which recognizes us all having been born equal in dignity.

This manual is first in the effort to start a dialogue in urban and rural communities about economic, social, and cultural rights as human rights; the human right to development, to fresh water, to education, to a job, to health care; and most important to a home where the safety of a family can be sustained and the potential of its members fulfilled.

As human rights educators we are trying to cultivate people's critical thinking so that they could analyze their daily lives from a human rights perspective and take actions accordingly.

Maintaining the indivisibility and interconnectedness of human rights for all is an imperative to the sustainability of human settlements and the dignity of all women, men and children.

To encourage human rights educator to continue on this path I would like to share the following:

  1. In Natal, South Africa, as part of a project of human rights education on women's human rights and gender equality, rural women, had chosen to enter into a dialogue with their Chiefs with whom, for many month they discussed equality and the imperatives of women's participation in the decision that determine their lives in the private and public arenas. In December, 1995, elections were held for a 15 seat regional council. Twenty-two (22) women all participated in the dialogue with the Chiefs, ran for office. Eight of them were elected to the council.
  2. As a direct result of human rights education in the Arab community in Israel, human rights activists were able to bring together 40 Arab Mayors who then took their grievances on the issue of land and housing to the UN Human Rights Sub Commission in Geneva and to the Economic-Social Treaty Body. Actions taken had initiated a process to overturned discriminatory practices against Arabs in Israel.
  3. In the rural areas of Georgia, US, a teacher working with mentally disabled children, participated in a group assembled to learn about human rights. At the end of the first discussion, he rose and spoke with great passion, saying: I now realized that for the last 25 years I have been violating the human rights of the children with whom I have been working. I want to know more so that we can stop these practices.

These transformations in people's daily lives is what human rights educators try humbly to effect. Lea, Teresita, and I hope that you will not stay a stranger to these efforts and join us in the exciting voyage of human rights education, where real hope grows.


INTRODUCTION

The Training Course on Housing and The Urban Poor shall be conducted within organizational meetings of people's organizations or in community assemblies as an entry point in organizing urban poor communities in Metro Manila. These trainings shall be conducted by community organizers or community leaders. The training will be conducted either in a live-in training or staggered basis.

Training Aim

To raise the social awareness of urban poor household members on their socio-economic situation, the factors contributory to their present state, housing laws favorable and discriminatory to them; their rights as people and the need for their active and critical participation for change.

Participants to the Training

Urban poor community men and women leaders and members are the main concern of the training. Exposure and awareness of their rights as human beings in general and their housing rights in particular, is very limited and to most of them, none at all. The urban poor community members have been moulded into a culture of passivity. Although they are aware of their situation in the community, when unorganized, people tend to accept that they are destined to be poor. Providing them the tools and adequate information about their rights and potentials as human beings may eventually lead to collective action to improve their situation.

The community members should be encouraged to discuss in a participatory process, the operationalization of their rights as human beings.