Rights groups condemn eviction of dozens of families and demolition of their tents this morning in Ezbet al-Nakhl in Cairo
The undersigned organizations condemn the eviction of dozens of families and the destruction of their shelters this morning, 26 February 2014, in Ezbat al-Nakhl by Cairo governorate security forces. We further condemn the violence used against women and children. The evictions took place on the first day in office of the new government headed by Mr. Ibrahim Mahlab, who stated that social justice would be the foundation and vision for his government.
Eyewitness Metwalli Hassan said; “At about 7:30 am, police tear gassed the families present on the site. Snipers were seen on the bridge firing in the air. Police forces attacked, hitting residents of the shanties over the head with the butts of their weapons, both men and women, causing numerous injuries.” Five women were admitted to the hospital with various injuries, one with a head injury, while a child suffering from tar gas inhalation was admitted to the al-Youm al-Wahed Hospital in Marg.Police also detained several men. According to the testimony of two residents, Umm Ashraf and Umm Ayman; “Security came in and struck with tear gas. They kicked residents out of the shanty area and they’re now surrounded…they also arrested three people.” Ali Abd al-Wahhab, who was one of the detained and who contacted us after his release said; “We were arrested because we were defending the women from being beaten. We were held for a while in the Central Security Forces truck and then let go.” At the time of writing, Saudi Eid was still detained at the Matariya police station.
The undersigned organizations note that the families evicted this morning has set up tents and make-shift shelters because Cairo Governorate demolished their homes last week, leaving them homeless, While some of the families were resettled, the authorities refused to rehouse an unknown number of residents, claiming they were not eligible because their names were not included in the tally of residents.
These families remained on the street nine nights, demanding their right to be rehoused. It appeared that the authorities had begun to respond yesterday when the governorate informed 30 families it would consider their applications after taking copies of their identity cards and other documents. But today’s eviction and demolition demonstrates that the governorate has no intention of providing alternative housing to the homeless families.
The initial eviction of 18 February in the Ezbet al-Nakhl area, preceded the demolition of over 500 homes to make way for a bridge that is part of the ‘Moasasit al-Zaka’ highway project, and which the local authorities consider one of their most important achievements. The eviction and demolition left more than 500 families without homes. Some 430 of them have been resettled in governorate housing located seven kilometers away , but in some cases more than one family was rehoused in the same unit, while all residents were given no documentation proving their tenure.
The undersigned organizations urge the Cairo Governorate, the Informal Settlements Development Facility (ISDF) and the Ministry of Local Development to refrain from using violence against residents of Masaken al-Tawfiqiya and provide housing for the at least 174 families made homeless, in compliance with the new constitution, which prohibits forced eviction (Article 63), guarantees the right to adequate housing (Article 78) and obligates the state to uphold “the right of citizens to a secure life and provide security and peace” (Article 59).
- Habitat International Coalition (HIC)
- Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR)
- Egyptian Center for Civil and Legislative Reform (ECCLR)
- Egyptian Center for Economic and Social Rights (ECESR)
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