Issues Home About Contact Us Issue 11 - November 2014 عربى
Regional Developments

Egyptian Housing Day: “No to Displacement, Yes to Development”

For the second consecutive year, Egyptian housing activists commemorated Egyptian Housing Day, organizing an event highlighting the important problems and challenges facing the marginalized, poor and vulnerable communities in urban development and renewal projects.                        

This second annual event, organized under the slogan “No to displacement, Yes to Development,” emphasized that the purpose of the development and replanning process should be to improve urban inhabitants’ living standards, not impoverish them by subject them to forced eviction. Additionally, activists confirmed the importance of the social participation in setting and implementing the development plans in accordance with the new 2014 Egyptian Constitution, which explicitly prohibits forced evictions (Art. 63), and recognizes social participation in the developing projects (Arts. 87, 236).

The Egyptian Center for Civil and Legislative Reform, reviewed the social efforts at forming the Informal Settlements Coalition to unify the vision and demands of the inhabitants of marginalized and informal settlements areas, providing them an adequate and secure housing, struggle against the violations that these communities face as a result of development and re-planning projects.

Diverse informal and marginalized settlement inhabitants participated in the event, from several areas in Cairo and Giza Provinces (`Izbat Khairallah, and Manshi’at Nasser, Duwīqa, Miyat `Uqba, al-Suff and al-`Umranīyya). Governmental representatives also attended from the local councils and the Ministry of Urban and Informal Settlement Development. Participants sought to consolidate their visions for the development process that will be implemented in the cities of Greater Cairo, emphasizing that the communities under development must be part of the process toward the improvement of their living conditions.

The representatives of the informal and marginalized settlements emphasized that development should not be at the expense of the poor and vulnerable communities in the form of violations of constitutional principles and the other state obligations under human rights instruments, specifically those guaranteeing the economic and social rights of citizens and other inhabitants.

Members of the Maspero Neighborhood League issued a statement on the recent progress in the development of the Maspero Triangle (Central Cairo). They expressed the fear that officials will continue trying to evict them, and demanded to be involved in the development process. They also called for a review of all laws that have contributed to the deterioration of housing conditions, resulting from the prohibition against housing restoration and repair work.

While a Ministry of Urban and Informal Settlement Development representative presented the role and purpose of the Ministry and the actions related to the implementation of development and replanning projects. He also emphasized that forced eviction is prohibited, and stressed the importance of social participation in all development projects that the Ministry implements.

HIC-HLRN participated in this event by presenting the international standards related to the urban development projects, which confirming the importance of prior, free and informed consent with communities of the areas that will come under development or replanning. Additionally, HIC-HLRN presented its most-recent technical tools for quantifying the consequences of forced eviction and displacement.  

At the end of the event, the Egyptian activists affirmed the necessity to review all national laws and regulations that contradict the new constitution and international human rights norms, specifically those that violate the human right to adequate housing and secure tenure, and impede social justice and nondiscrimination in the distribution of public resources and services.  

Photos: Front page: Participant in Egyptian Housing Rights Day event. Source: al-Masry al-Youm. This page: The aftermath of the rockslide at Duweiqa, 2008. Source: The Egyptian Center for the Right to the City.


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