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Thousands of Egyptians facing forced evictions from slums: report

Amnesty International is calling on the Egyptian authorities to protect the rights of the country’s 12 million slum-dwellers.

Basima Ramadan, mother of eight, used to rent a room in Al-Shohba, Al-Duwayqa. She says she was left homeless after being evicted at the end of April 2010.
Basima Ramadan, mother of eight, used to rent a room in Al-Shohba, Al-Duwayqa. She says she was left homeless after being evicted at the end of April 2010.
Image: Amnesty International

THOUSANDS OF EGYPTIANS who are living in massive slums around Cairo are at risk of forced evictions, according to Amnesty International.

Residents living in the massive slums live in “appalling and dangerous conditions”, according to Noeleen Hartigan, Programmes Direct of Amnesty International Ireland, who recalled how a rockslide in one slum three year ago killed at least 119 people.

Despite the desperate living conditions which exist in the slums, Hartigan condemned the government’s approach to dealing with the problem – which often involved expelling families from their homes “without compensation or alternative accommodation”.

“When slum residents dare to object, they face unlawful forced evictions and arbitrary arrest under repressive laws,” she said.

There are currently a staggering 12 million people living in the slums, with an estimated 850,000 living in areas believed to be “unsafe”  by the authorities. Amnesty International reports that 18,300 housing units in Egypt are at risk of imminent collapse.

“Where people are genuinely living in dangerous conditions and eviction is the only feasible option, they have to get enough time to prepare. The government must compensate them for the loss of their homes and find alternative accommodation,” Hartigan said.

She said that women were particularly vulnerable – especially if they are divorced, widowed or separated – in the allocation of alternative housing. “If people’s lives are in imminent danger, they must be immediately relocated to temporary shelter and then provided with support to restart their lives,” she added.

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