Digya National Park-2

What is affected
Housing Social/public
Housing private
Land Social/public
Land Private
Type of violation Forced eviction
Date 01 March 2006
Region AFA [ Africa anglophone ]
Country Ghana
Location Tapa-Abotoase area of Lake Volta, Digya National Park

Affected persons

Total 7000
Men 0
Women 0
Children 0
Proposed solution
Details IRN Review.pdf
Forced eviction

Duty holder(s) /responsible party(ies)

Catholic Church
Brief narrative

Ghana: Forced evictions in the Digya national park area must stop Amnesty International and the Centre on Housing Rights and Evictions (COHRE) have expressed their serious concern about the recent forced eviction of hundreds of residents from the Dudzorme Island within the Digya National Park in the Tapa-Abotoase area of Lake Volta, Ghana, and the planned forced eviction of thousands more. These forced evictions have deprived residents, including women and children, of their homes and, in most cases, of their means of earning a living. The organisations are also deeply concerned about the death of more than 100 of those forcibly evicted, when a ferry forcibly removing them from the island capsized on 8 April. The Game and Wildlife Division argue that the forced evictions are necessary because the land was set aside as a forest reserve. Amnesty International and COHRE have been informed that the forced evictions were carried out without adequate prior consultation, adequate notice and compensation or alternative accommodation. This is in violation of Ghana’s regional and international human rights obligations, including the right to adequate housing, which includes the right not to be forcibly evicted. The Dudzorme Island community were reportedly first threatened with evictions in June 2002. In January 2003, as a result of a campaign by local and international non-governmental organisations, including COHRE and the Center for Public Interest Law (CEPIL), against these planned forced evictions, the Minister for Land and Forestry decided to suspend the evictions. However, on 5 February 2006 the Government served an eviction notice on the community, with less than one month’s notice. In late March and early April, officials of the Forestry Commission forcibly evicted residents from Dudzorme Island. Sources confirmed to Amnesty International and COHRE that there was inadequate prior consultation with the community. Furthermore, insufficient notice of less than one month was given to the residents, in contrast to the 90 days absolute minimum recommended by the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Housing as a component of the right to an adequate standard of living. Evictees reported that they were forced out of their houses, subsequently forced on to the boat, and in the process some of them were beaten with sticks. Amnesty International and COHRE are furthermore concerned that the authorities have reportedly neither provided alternative housing nor compensation, which violate the right to adequate housing including the right not to be forcibly evicted. The organisations are concerned that the rest of the up to 7,000 community members residing in the Digya National Park may face similar forced evictions. Victims report that, in the process of forcibly evicting those residents, the overloaded ferry, which was taking them from the island in the Afram Plains area to Abotoase in the eastern part of the region, capsized. 58 persons have been confirmed dead and 71 have been registered as survivors, although not all have been found. Initial official reports indicate that the number of deceased is considerably lower. Amnesty International and COHRE are deeply concerned about the manner in which these evictions appear to have been carried out, particularly about the use of excessive force, including the reported forcing of people onto the ferry without putting adequate safeguards for their safety in place. Amnesty International and COHRE call on the Ghanaian authorities to: immediately cease all forced evictions in this area and in other parts of Ghana; as a matter of urgency, ensure that all evictees are provided with basic shelter and housing as well as access to food, safe drinking water and sanitation, and medical services; immediately establish an independent commission of inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the ferry disaster and other allegations of human rights abuses in the con

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