Protecting housing rights in Nigeria : the role of NGOs
DisciplineYhteiskuntapolitiikkaSocial PolicyKansainvälinen kehitystyö (maisteriohjelma)Master's Degree Programme in Development and International Cooperation
This Master’s thesis research project aims to explore the roles of two Nigerian NGOs, SERI and SERAC, in promoting and protecting housing rights of the urban poor in Nigeria. The motivation to conduct this study stemmed from the widespread evictions and demolitions carried out in 2005 in Nigeria. Using qualitative research methods of participatory observation of SERI’s clients and activities, semi-structured in-depth interviews of SERAC’s staff, literature review and policy analysis, the paper analyses the roles of the organisations based on the challenges faced, and instruments used in their efforts to promote housing rights. The analyses compares practice in Nigeria with the obligations of national and international actors as prescribed in international agreements and Nigerian legislation. The empirical findings show that the main challenges of the NGOs are the hostile relations with government, the sheer size of urban centres, and the lack of funds and personnel to reach all communities whose rights to housing are being violated. Despite these obstructions, the NGOs maintain efforts to monitor, document and disseminate reports on violations, advocate and collaborate with other actors to foster policy change, and represent the clients in judicial procedures. These aspects of the NGOs’ position direct their principal role of advocacy. Despite the important actions of these organisations, SERI’s and SERAC’s effectiveness as primary actors for the protection of housing rights in Nigeria is questioned here because they are unable to secure this ESC right. This study therefore proposes the set up of an independent, international monitoring body with a renewed mandate and powers to sanction housing rights violators. ...
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