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FORCED EVICTION KILLS CHILD; 3,500 LEFT HOMELESS

Forced eviction kills child; 3,000 left homeless

Kumi visit- Meeting with thought leaders, Kenya
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The Nubian Community has experienced historical injustices linked to statelessness and land ownership. They were first settled by the British colonial government near Kisumu airport but later, after the expansion of the airport, they resettled in Kibos in 1938 and have been living there ever since. The ownership of Kibos has been challenged repeatedly, with Kenya Railways claiming ownership of the land and threatening to evict the community. The community successfully filed a petition under a Certificate of Urgency to seek a conservatory order preventing Kenya Railways from evicting them until ownership is ascertained in Environment and Land Court (ELC). The Conservatory Order was served to the Kenya Railways and County Commissioner (who tore it up) on 5 February, at 4:15 pm. At 5pm, the County Commissioner started marking Kibos homes with Xs. At 9pm the Kenya Power and Lightening Company cut off the main power to the whole settlement. By 10.30pm, police officers descended on the community, firing teargas into the homes of over 3,500 and a 83 year-old mosque. Excavators and other heavy equipment were used to bring down homes, the mosque and two nursery schools. As the authorities proceeded to demolish buildings,  a child was crushed to her death while her mother cried for time to remove her from the house.

The County Commissioner oversaw the demolition of all buildings. Barely five days later, on 10 February, the Environment and Land Court of Kisumu summoned the Kenya Railways Corporation to show cause why they should not be held in contempt of court for ignoring the conservatory orders and for failing to appear in court. In a hearing held on 11 February, the Court upheld the status quo of the conservatory orders and granted the community rentry orders.

The forced evictions in Kibos were conducted less than a month after the Supreme Court of Kenya, on 11 January, made a definitive judgment  on the right to housing. The landmark judgement states, under section 153, that, ”The right to housing in its base form (shelter) need not be predicated upon “title to land”. Indeed, it is the inability of many citizens to acquire private title to land, that condemns them to the indignity of “informal settlements”. Where the Government fails to provide accessible and adequate housing to all the people, the very least it must do, is to protect the rights and dignity of those in the informal settlements. The Courts are there to ensure that such protection is realized, otherwise these citizens, must forever, wander the corners of their country, in the grim reality of “the wretched of the earth”.
 

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PIKPA REFUGEE SHELTER CLOSED DOWN

PIKPA refugee shelter closed down

Refugee camp
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Urgent Action outcome: PIKPA refugee shelter closed down

The eviction of the PIKPA refugee shelter in Lesvos was carried out in the morning of 30 October.

1st update on UA 152/20

FORCED EVICTION LEAVES 3000 PEOPLE HOMELESS

Forced eviction leaves 3000 people homeless

KENYA - Nairobi Skyline
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On 11 May, five days after the Kariobangi forced evictions, the President of Kenya, through the Cabinet Secretary for Interior and Co-ordination of National Government, announced that “until the country is done with the COVID-19 pandemic challenges, no evictions should take place”.  He also announced that the police had been instructed to cease all evictions and that police officers were required to confirm court orders on evictions through the Office of the Attorney General.

The Dagoretti Corner settlement forced eviction on 1 October was carried out to reclaim the parcel of land said to belong to the Kenya Railways Corporation. The Kenya Power & Lighting Company also demolished houses that were built along a power line. Most of the residents were away at work during the demolition and had no time to salvage their belongings. We have been informed that the residents have lived there for more than 25 years. The action of demolition of the residential dwellings, considering the prevailing circumstances, not only increases their vulnerability to COVID-19 but is also a gross violation of human rights including the right to adequate housing enshrined in the Constitution of Kenya and in the international human rights treaties ratified by the state. We call upon all stakeholders to act in cognizance of the need to safeguard the human rights and health of all.
 

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EVICTIONS OF VULNERABLE PEOPLE

Evictions of vulnerable people

Cajamarca - Perú Copyright: Raúl García Pereira / Amnistía Internacional
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On 14 March 2020 the Peruvian government led by President Martín Vizcarra declared a state of emergency due to the COVID-19 pandemic. A strict lockdown and curfew are among the measures taken to prevent the spread of the virus, as well as other restrictions to the right to transit. In Perú, where most people work in the informal economy, these measures have severely affected people’s capacity to access basic goods and keep up with rent payments. Over 1.2 million people who lost their jobs between February and April in Lima alone due to the ecomonic impact of COVID-19 measures.

According to the UNHCR, in recent years 5,1 million people have fled Venezuela seeking international protection. Of those, more than 861,000 Venezuelans are in Perú with limited access to asylum and diverse obstacles to regularize their migration status -and work permits- in Peru. 

Even though Perú has included some vulnerable groups in its response plan to COVID-19, in the form of special subsidies and social plans, regrettably it has not included any provision regarding the right to housing, nor the special situation of refugees and migrants in the country. Old regulations such as the Civil Code and outdated case law are the only valid legal framework that apply the housing situation in this context and they do not match the current reality and are inadequately enforced or even ignored (for instance, they are carried out without a court order). 

According to Venezuelan National Assembly representative in Perú, Carlos Scull, around 55,000 Venezuelan families are currently at risk of being evicted. Amnesty International has noted with concern numerous media reports of evictions of Venezuelans and other vulnerable groups due to lack of payment of rent as a result of the economic impact of COVID-19 related measures.

Although President Martín Vizcarra did mentioned the need to incorporate Venezuelans in the government’s aid plans, the efforts taken to do so have been insufficient and do not cover in any extent the situation of forced and arbitrary evictions, nor the situation of informal rental agreements that are common in the country, leaving the population at risk of being evicted and forced to violate quarantine measures as many of them do not have anywhere to go. 

The office of the Ombudsperson in Perú  stated the urgent need to protect Venezuelan population and to include them in a more inclusive response to address the health emergency caused by the pandemic.

The lack of protection of Venezuelans seeking refuge in Perú is also pushing many of them to decide whether to stay under these adverse circumstances or return to Venezuela (through the Northern of Perú, Ecuador and Colombia), many of them by foot, even though borders are closed and the lockdown measures limit the freedom to transit. Different sources report between 20,000 and 33,000 Venezuelans have returned to their home country by different means. 

The alarming lack of protection of Venezuelans in the Americas during COVID-19 has prompted an emergency Donors Conference convened by the European Union and Spain on 26 May, in an effort to “mobilise resources to support the displaced population and the main host communities, tackle the aggravated situation created by COVID-19, and facilitate greater commitment and coordination of the key actors”, according to the EU.

Amnesty International has already expressed its concern over the situation of Venezuelan nationals returning to the country, due to forced quarantine mechanisms in place, the stigma under which authorities in Venezuela have been treating returnees, and the risk of having their basic human rights violated in these excruciating circumstances. 
 

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EVICTED RESIDENTS VULNERABLE TO COVID-19

Evicted residents vulnerable to Covid-19

Nairobi skyline
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Since 1996, residents from Kariobangi Sewerage Farmers Slum have been paying the Nairobi County Government land rates and have title deeds that establish their ownership of the land that they are living on. The residents have records of their land tax payments in the form of receipts dating back to 1996. In April 2019, the residents were issued with a notice of eviction letter by the Cabinet Secretary of Lands and the Nairobi County government. Following this, there was no further information from the government about the eviction, compensation or resettlement.

In response to the verbal orders to vacate, on 3 May 2020, the Environment and Lands Court certified the case filed by Kariobangi Sewerage Farmers Self Group as urgent and scheduled a hearing on Thursday 7 May 2020. The court also issued an interim order to halt the evictions until the matter was heard on 7 May.

The Nairobi City Water and Sewerage Company Ltd carried out the forced evictions in a bid to reclaim the land from the residents. They were accompanied by the Deputy County Commissioner (DCC), the area chief and administrative police. The Nairobi City Water and Sewerage Company Ltd (NCWSC) was incorporated in December 2003 under the Companies Act cap 486 and is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Nairobi City County. 

The right to adequate housing has been entrenched as a justiciable right in the Constitution of Kenya. Article 43(1)(b), provides that ‘every person has the right to accessible and adequate housing and reasonable standards of sanitation’. Kenya is obliged under a range of human rights treaties, including the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, to refrain from and prevent forced evictions. The UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights has emphasized that evictions may be carried out only as a last resort, once all feasible alternatives have been explored and only after appropriate procedural and legal safeguards are in place.

These include genuine consultation with the people affected, adequate and reasonable notice, adequate alternative housing and compensation for all losses, safeguards on how evictions are carried out, and access to legal remedies and procedures, including access to legal aid where necessary. Governments are required to ensure that no one is rendered homeless or vulnerable to other human rights violations as a consequence of an eviction. International human rights standards also state that even where evictions are deemed to be justified, states must ensure that they put in place all safeguards and due process requirements.
 

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INDIGENOUS COMMUNITY ATTACKED

Indigenous community attacked

Coloradas de la Virgen
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The indigenous community ASEINPOME is an ancestral territory inhabited by the indigenous community of the Sikuani - Kubeo ethnic group. In the second semester of 2015, after multiple cycles of forced displacement, spoliation of their culture and threats to their lives, the community decided to return to their ancestral territory in the El Porvenir district, Municipality of Puerto Gaitán, meta region. Since their return they have received threats and have been victims of violence.

In the last two weeks three men on two motorcycles have been prowling around the premises, and on 12 April the community noticed two armed individuals who were present for half an hour near the settlement, on the road that leads to the El Porvenir path.

In 2019, the Ministry of the Interior did not certify the presence of Indigenous Peoples in that territory and approved a project of a foreign multinational for oil extraction in the settlement area. In the same year, the community received intimidating and extortion calls and has faced racist accusations. In addition, in February 2019, a community member was approached by an armed individual who threatened them and stated that he would come back to displace the community.

These situations were reported to the National Police, but to date no investigation has been started and the security forces have not been present on the local. The Office of the Prosecutor has been informed of the complaints, however since July 2019 the community has not received any further information from the Prosecutor and their requests have not been answered.
 

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Urgent Action update: Roma still homeless after forced eviction

Around 500 Roma people were left homeless after being forcibly evicted by authorities.

1st Update on UA 068/19 Issued 11/07/2019

Urgent Action: Indigenous community at risk of eviction

The Tekoha Sauce Indigenous community in Paraguay are, once again, at risk of eviction from their ancestral territory.

UA 89/19 issued 02/07/2019

Urgent Action: Artisanal miners at risk as the army moves in

10,000 artisanal miners are at risk of serious human rights violations if removed from a mining area where they work.

UA 92/19 issued 28/06/2019
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