EOHR criticizes recent forced evictions
Residents of Ezbet el-Nakhl during their protest in front of the High Judiciary Courthouse - YOUM7/Amr Moustafa
By HANAN FAYED

CAIRO: The Egyptian Organization for Human Rights (EOHR) expressed concern over the “unconstitutional forced evictions” that recently took place in Cairo’s Dar Dar El-Salam district as per a prime minister decision claiming their homes erect on state lands, EOHR said in a Sunday statement.

 The government has stated the buildings in questions were constructed behind the Dar El-Salam police station after the January 25 Revolution in 2011, taking advantage of the lawlessness that followed, according to EOHR.

 “A total of 22 unlicensed buildings in Dar El-Salam area would be demolished because the land they occupy belongs to Maadi for Development and Construction,” head of Dar El-Salam municipality Mohamed al-Taweel told Sada al-Balad news website in March.

 EOHR said that the buildings emerged over three years prior to the revolution, adding that some owners have final court rulings in favor of their ownership against Maadi for Development and Construction, a subsidiary of the Ministry of Investment.

 Dar El-Salam is adjacent to the upscale district of Maadi, which witnessed a number of demolition incidents recently.

 On April 8, official reports said one child was killed when a part of a building collapsed during a scheduled demolition of “illegal” buildings behind the Constitutional Court in Maadi.

 Out of 50 buildings that “blatantly infringed on state land,” 37 have been demolished behind the Constitutional Court, Taweel told Sada el-Balad on April 13.

 “The state will not back down from restoring its prestige by countering offenders until chaos comes to an end,” Taweel said.

 “Forced evictions are contrary to the human right to housing, which poses a serious threat due to the lack of other shelters for those living in these buildings [Those citizens] face the risk of homelessness,” head of EOHR Hafez Abou Se’da said in the statement.

 EOHR called on the authorities to cease forced evictions, unless under exceptional circumstances with full adherence to relevant provisions in International Human Rights Law and the International Humanitarian Law.

 Nearly 19 houses were destroyed and 98 families were evacuated in Razaz, a slum area in Cairo’s informal district Manshiyet Nasser on April 7, Cairo Governor Gala Saeed said in press statements.

 The evacuation was decided after the government was updated with scientific reports confirming threats posed by a potential rockslide down the hill of Moqattam overlooking the area, according to various media outlets.

 The displaced citizens would be resettled in Moqattam district and October 6 City, Saeed stated.

 Security services forcibly evicted citizens in Cairo’s el-Marg district in February after a fire broke out in their huts lying under the Sheikh Mansour Bridge, leading to its collapse, according to Youm7. One fire fighter was killed under the bridge when he was extinguishing fire, reported Youm7.

 The Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights called on authorities to provide alternative housing solutions for 174 families affected, based on constitutional articles 63, 78, and 59, which obliges the state to provide citizens with security, appropriate housing, and prevent mass displacement.

 Deputy Governor of Cairo Ahmed Taymour said in a statement on Feb. 19 that the governorate is housing 420 Ezbet el-Nakhl residents and is tallying up the number of the remaining residents to deliver them to residential housing in Matariya, a district in northern Cairo.

 Some of these families were originally displaced from the deprived Duweiqa shantytown in 2008 after a massive rock fell from Moqattam hill, killing over 100 people.

The government failed to provide all the families with alternative accommodation, therefore some of them resided informally at Ezbet el-Nakhl, particularly under the Sheikh Mansour Bridge.

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