Today in the lead up to World Habitat Day on October 1st we’re proud to announce a new video People Before Profit – bringing communities across the world together to tell the global story of forced evictions. WITNESS has supported forced evictions campaigns for more than 10 years. During this time, these projects have amplified the voices of communities across the world. For World Habitat Day we are bringing many of these voices together for the first time to tell another story.

The video is also available in a multilingual version here in Arabic, Catalan, Chinese, French, Portuguese, Spanish, Turkish. In order to access the various languages, click the “cc” button at the bottom of the video frame.

People Before Profit was produced for use by local communities affected by forced evictions and those supporting them to build greater solidarity locally and globally. We hope local communities can “see themselves” through others’ struggles and successes around the world. People Before Profit is a major tool for WITNESS and our partners to leverage local campaigns and to represent forced evictions as the international human rights issue it truly is.

The footage comes from WITNESS partners and allies around the world and attempts to tell the story of the more universal human experience before, during and after an eviction as well as the positive ways communities are responding and, in fact, being pro-active towards securing and protecting their human rights.

Watching the video you will quickly notice we do not indicate countries or directly identify any person during the video – until the end credits. You also may not be easily able to distinguish footage and stories from the United States, from Brazil or from Nigeria. To create a truly global video with one voice, we chose to blur the lines of geography and nationality.

Also, People Before Profit can be viewed as a table of contents for additional videos. Each clip is part of extended interviews or fully produced pieces. The video showcases the amazing work of our partners like LICADHO in Cambodia, Video Volunteers in India, Habitat Coalition International– América Latina in Mexico, Articulação Nacional dos Comitês da Copa in Brazil and our allies People Live Here in Nigeria and NESRI in the United States. The end credits tell the entire story. You can view our partners’ videos and others on forced evictions on our new YouTube channel–

Local Voices Can Create Global Change

In its work, WITNESS tries to place the human story at the center of human rights campaigns.

In the more than 70 videos produced since 2010 as part of the forced evictions global campaign, WITNESS and our partners have sought to do just that – with stories that move decision-makers to respond and with images that cannot be denied.

What was needed was a space in which these voices came together for a moment – without the confinements of our borders and the stereotypes they may create within us.  Since an estimated 15 million people are affected by forced evictions each year, to tell this global story, we needed many voices to speak as one.  People Before Profit is that one voice.

Through activism and solidarity campaigns, communities around the world have been claiming and gaining a larger share in the decisions which impact their lives. Forced evictions impact individuals, families and communities most greatly.  To bring an end to these human rights abuses requires us all to see the global nature in which local forced evictions often arise and consider how the local voices around the world together can create global change.

Get Involved

Please watch the video and share it.

You can also help us reach more people with People Before Profit by volunteering to translate the video. If you’d like to help with translations, please get in touch with my colleague Jackie Zammuto via email at jackie [at] witness [dot] org or on Twitter @jackiezammuto.

12 thoughts on “People Before Profit: New Video on Global Forced Evictions

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  9. I am an Australian. I am also a qualified pharmacist unable to practice on the French island of St Martin. In fact I am told I am too ole to even think about working now.. 60 years old. I am the single mother of two bi racial children. O the 13 July 2011 three French gendarmes banged or kicked the door 08h00. I stupidly opened and in they CHARGED, pushing me and yelling GET OUT GET OUT GET BAGS GET OUT ITS FINISHED FOR YOU. They had NO AUTHORITY. They showed NO IDS nor did the man in dirty blue jeans and a crumpled shirt, unshaven and looking as if he had been drinking all night. They pushed me. They yelled at me., They blocked the door with their legs and pushed me out of the way yelling with their hands on their guns to where my two daughters were sleeping in their beds. Two GIRLS in their underwear. The French gendarmes YELLED at them to GET OUT GET OUT GET OUT NOOOOWWWWW. my daughters were terrified and crying when FOUR men were standing over their beds.. YELLING insults in French.
    When my eldest daughter heard the gendarme say in French to the man in dirty jeans that he would pick me up and throw me outside by my body if I did not hurry up, she understood and asked the gendarme WHY ARE YOUR SPEAKING TO MY MOTHER LIKE SHE IS A DOG., LIKE SHE IS A SOUS RACE.
    The French gendarme and the Huissier were taken aback as they did not think anyone spoke French.

    The gendarme with his hand on his gun turned with his finger pointed at my daughter and YELLED at her:


    the gendarme then turned to me with his face so close to mine he was spitting and yelled; GIVE ME YOUR KEYS GIVE ME YOUR KEYS NOW AH ITS TOO LATE THE LOCKS ARE BROKEN”
    the man in the dirty jeans.. the HUISSIER yelled at me :”IF YOU DO NOT HURRY UP I WILL HAVE YOU ARRESTED’

    We were thrown outside like animals. NO PASSPORTS, none of our valuables. no food no medicaments. none of our belongings and clothes except what my terrified traumatised children could grab..
    all our jewellry and school trophies. their school uniforms, shoes, books beds desks..
    everything was left behind.
    NO HOUSING either.
    Thrown into a hotel room.. 14h35 on the 13 July 2011.

    not one person in the French government has done one thing.
    President de la Republique has not replied to any of my messages..
    In fact 06 September 2011 the judge declared the FORCED VIOLENT EVICTION ILLEGAL…
    they refused to give us the keys…
    16 February 2012, the landlords.. two corrupt FRENCH NOTARIES and the huissiers sent their four men with a truck and they STOLE everything of value.. destroyed the rest…
    that was 18 months ago..
    NOBODY in the French justice system has done one thing.
    In face the woman in charge of Solidarite and family and who is the third Vice President YELLED at me to LEAVE ST MARTIN GO GET OUT and she slammed down the phone…
    this is the country of my childrens
    France claims to be the ‘home of Human Rights”

    it is not.. ALL our basic fundamental human rights have been violated by FRANCE and by the French justice system which because of corruption has done nothing…

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