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At a press conference held in New Delhi on the occasion of World Habitat Day – celebrated on the first Monday of October every year – the National Forum for Housing Rights (NFHR) was officially launched. This event was accompanied by simultaneous press meets launching NFHR in the cities of Vishakapatnam, Bhopal, Allahabad, Mumbai, Indore and Lucknow. Indu Prakash Singh, convenor of NFHR and head of the urban poverty programme at Indo-Global Social Service Society, explained that NFHR is a coalition of organizations, networks, institutions, social movements and individuals across India committed to working at multiple levels to promote the respect, protection and fulfilment of the human right to adequate housing and related rights, including protection against forced evictions, especially for the most marginalised. “Concerned that the situation of housing and living conditions in India has been worsening and the number of homeless and those living in adverse conditions continues to rise, and given the lack of adequate government response, housing rights activists and organizations across India felt the need to come together and form a strong national campaign,” he said. Bipin Rai, co-convenor NFHR, provided a brief history of the housing rights movement in India and the context for the launch of NFHR. The housing rights movement in India has been active for the last 30 years. Although there have been several challenges, the movement has continued in different forms and at various fronts. In 1986, the National Campaign for Housing Rights was launched, which worked effectively for around eight years. From 1994 until 2000, a number of state level campaigns were active in India. From 2000 – 2005, a new alliance called the National Forum for Housing Rights (NFHR) worked across urban India towards ensuring “Housing for All.” During the years 2005-2011, though several organizations, networks and movements continued working on different dimensions of housing rights across India, and state level housing rights campaigns continued, they were not organised as one national movement. In 2010-2011, at several meetings, the need for reviving NFHR was felt and articulated.

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