The Egyptian Organization for Human Rights issued a report entitled “Marginalized in shanty towns … Dead or a live: Al Dowiqa opens fire again”

September 17th, 2008 by Editor

 

   The Egyptian Organization for Human Rights( EOHR) issues a report entitled “ Marginalized in shanty towns   ….. Dead or a live : Al Dowiqa opens fire again ” on Wednesday 17/9/2008   which deals with monitoring the crisis of Al Dowiqa and the problems of shanty towns in general .

 

The report deals with shanty towns case which has emerged as a reaction due to several  aspects including  economic, political, demographic and natural conditions  . This phenomenon  led to a vast consequences  and in some cases reached the  disastrous results such as the prevalence of terrorism , streets  boys and violence .  The number of shanty towns  became  1221 areas according to the census of  2006 distributed in 24 governorates inhabited by 15.7 millions persons  and this rate represents 24 % of the total population of the republic .  The rate of shanty towns reach 77% of the constructional growth in some towns as in Bani Mazar  – Al Menia  governorate and in some cases shanty towns reached about 87 % of the constructional extents like   in Giza governorate .   

 

 

The report is divided into 4 sections , the first one deals with the legislative and legal framework  of the right to housing  , the importance of this right  , besides  dealing with the international  covenants concerned with this right including  Article  25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights  , article 11 of the International Covenant on Economic Social and Cultural Rights   , and the Vancouver Declaration on Human Settlements in 1976  , and the Istanbul Declaration in 1996, and Article 14, paragraph H of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women and the Convention  of Child rights  (Article 27, paragraph 3) , Article 10 of the Declaration of Social Progress and Development, and article 8 (1) of the Declaration of the Right to Development, and Recommendation 115 of the International Labor  Organization on housing for workers in 1961, the Convention on the Rights of Refugees in 1951, besides the comments issued by  the Committee of  Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, including the  General Comment No. 4 & 7.

 

  The second section of the report  entitled ” Shanty towns ….. Causes and results” deals with  the exacerbation of the crisis in the last period in Egypt which was the problem that  the report of United Nations fund for Population bewared . 

 

 

The report deals with  the increasing number of shanty towns in Egypt  as the rate reached about 1221 shanty areas including from 12 to 15 millions persons who live in unhealthy environment   where health hazards arise from poor drainage system and the lack of pure water  and the poor ventilation in work and living area  besides , air pollution  and industrial pollution and inadequate food.  These shanty towns  are established by  tin  or zinc or wood  or cartoon  or distracted huts  with narrow alleys where  cars can’t move inside . These  shanty towns are established without a license in the territories owned by government or others and usually these shanty towns are established outside the scope of governmental  services and utilities .

 

 The report deals with the main causes that led to the spread of this phenomenon  in the Egyptian region  , one of  these causes is the increasing number of population or as it were ” Over -Population “. The increasing number of population with the low resources leads to the decrease of  job opportunities and living level  ,so people turn to these places to live in . Also the migration from  the countryside to the town and the increase   of poverty rate inside the society  lead to the same problem . Egypt comes within countries with  medium human development and its rank is 120 among 177 countries  covered by the Human Development guide   and  was preceded by  such countries like Israel which ranked  level 22 and Bahrain in level 40 , Kuwait 44, Qatar 47 and the Emirates 49, while  Cuba ranked level No. 52 . Also unemployment is one of  the main cause of this phenomenon as it reached about 9.1 % of the total of labor force in Egypt ( 17.8 millions idle persons ) according to the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics .

 

 

This phenomenon led to a set of  out comes such as the prevalence of violence as shanty towns is  considered a main fuel for giving rise to violence inside the society on the political and social levels  and this relation is nominated  to be aggravated  strongly in the next stage .Also no doubt that the spread of children employment is a normal result for this phenomenon as the number of these children come to  2 millions including 90 000 of those are   in Cairo  . Statistics indicated to the increasing of   misdemeanors  related to street children as  most of misdemeanors are related to  theft with 56% and exposure  to homelessness with 16.5% and begging with 13.9 % and violence with 5.2 % and delinquency rate with 2.9 % .Also the phenomenon has a bad effect on  the environment and pollution and lack of drainage system  in this area .

 

The third section of the report deals with the live testimonies and the outcomes of fact- finding mission sent by  EOHR  to AL Dowiqa  area which concluded a set of results such as  the absence of monitoring role , despite the collapse of similar incidents  in the same region in the past years, the government failed to act and remained static  and  has not taken any action on this matter , besides the existence of  indifference towards the victims under the rocky blocs and the severe slowness to pull out lives from under the rocks  , also the unawareness of civil defense forces with required tasks and the lack of training courses to treat such crisis , and the absence of constructional planning that allows for evacuating shanty towns and compensating people with another places , and the failure of competent bodies to deal with the crisis .

 

 

The report ends with the fourth section which deals with a set of recommendations such as taking urgent steps to resolve the crisis through establishing a high committee for searching for the main causes of the crisis and its impacts via claiming  all ministries for   the establishment of a special unit for crisis management and ways to deal with them and forming a team of specialists to detect the populated areas  which constitute a danger to the residences , besides issuing a law to establish an independent board of specialists to manage emergencies including a group of advisers in all disciplines related to humanitarian or natural disasters and providing an independent budget for it.

 

 

Also it is recommended to dissolve the crisis of shanty towns through putting an effective solutions for combating shanty towns which is considered a clear violation against the right to decent living ( food – clothing –housing- education- and other basic rights ) .  Also it is necessary to work on developing houses  and to be available for all citizens especially for the low income citizens . Also it is important to take a quick measures to set  an integrated constructional policy  to limit the housing crisis in Egypt and to put all government efforts in  establishing  the new towns  and developing shanty towns  in the framework of general executable  plan . The report recommends to establish a committee for estimating the role of towns and constructional new communities  to help solving the problem of population to know the reasons of its failure to  achieve its key objectives, as well as to identify ways to encourage migration of people to these cities in order to set the effective strategy for limiting the population in the old valley . Also it is recommended

            

to emphasize the importance of considering spending in the face of the population problem as an essential part of the investments of the State , besides the need to continue  modernization of the national population policy and population strategies and the importance of  developing plans and educational  programs in schools and universities  and to teach the population subject as a compulsory  curriculum . Also it is recommended to review such laws and legislations that  may conflict with  the goals and philosophy of population policies .    

   

Also it is important to activate and strength  such laws and legislations that prevent building on the agricultural lands and completing the constructional designs to avoid the establishment of  new shanty towns and asking  faculties of engineering, constructional  planning and consulting offices to prepare these designs due to the shortage of local agencies which are responsible for preparing these designs  . Also  The report recommends to activate the real state finance law  and implementing Article 35 related to establish   a subsidy  fund for real state finance  activity in the field of  selling houses for low income citizens and providing  the needed funds to support social housing , and to put a strategy for lodging  low income citizens in the light of market economy based on encouraging migration to the new towns  with the need to intensify services inside these areas . Also it is  necessary  to take the necessary measures in order to develop a plan for the development on the  local  and economic level and in order to ensure the access of citizens to adequate housing.      

 

 

 

 

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