Scandal Persists

What is affected
Type of violation Dispossession/confiscation
Date 01 January 2003
Region A [ Asia ]
Country Afghanistan
Location across the country

Affected persons

Total 1000
Men 0
Women 0
Children 0
Proposed solution
Development OCHA+-+Displaced+Populations+Report+Jan+-+Mar+09.pdf

Duty holder(s) /responsible party(ies)

Brief narrative

Powerful “grab Afghanistan land” By Stephanie Irvine, BBC News Eurasia editor 6 August 2007 The Afghan urban development minister says land is being appropriated illegally by powerful individuals at a rate of two sq km (0.8 sq miles) a day. Former military commanders, members of parliament and senior officials are seizing land and then selling it on illegally, says Yousaf Pashthun. There is a land mafia which has stolen 5,000 sq km of land this year. It is another indication of the extent of corruption and the absence of the rule of law in Afghanistan. One man, who lives in the northern town of Mazar-e-Sharif, told the BBC how an estate that had been in his family for 80 years was taken over by local strongmen. They drew up false papers, divided the land up into plots and sold it off for private housing, he says. Although the original owner has taken the case to court, he is not optimistic since the people who stole his land are wealthy and powerful. The illegal seizure of government-owned land is also making it difficult for the authorities to carry out development schemes and building projects. Mr Pashthun says one of the reasons very little is being done about the problem is that many people in positions of power, including the government, are involved in the land mafia. Story from BBC NEWS: Afghanistan: Land-Grab Scandal In Kabul Rocks The Government By Ron Synovitz A United Nations housing expert is calling for the removal of Afghan Defense Minister Mohammad Qasim Fahim and other senior Afghan officials implicated in a scandal over the seizure of real estate in Kabul. But some of the accused officials say they have not done anything illegal. Prague, 16 September 2003 (RFE/RL) -- The recent bulldozing of houses in a Kabul neighborhood to build private homes for senior Afghan officials is growing into an embarrassing scandal for the UN-backed Afghan Transitional Authority. About 20 families in the Sherpur District of the Afghan capital -- an exclusive neighborhood close to the city center -- have been forced to leave the mud-brick houses they had built in the area over the last two decades. A critical report by a nongovernmental organization, the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission, has named 29 senior officials and other powerful Afghan personalities who received plots of land in Sherpur for nominal fees. Included on the list are six cabinet ministers, the mayor of Kabul, the governor of the Afghan National Bank, and two former militia commanders. Among the most prominent names on the list are Defense Minister Mohammad Qasim Fahim and Education Minister Yunis Qanooni. Both are leaders within Jamiat-i-Islami, the political wing of a former Northern Alliance faction. Jamiat-i-Islami seized de facto control of Kabul after the Taliban regime fled the city but before the International Security Assistance Force was deployed there. The legitimacy of the NGO report has been strengthened by a separate report by Miloon Kothari, a United Nations special rapporteur on housing and land rights, who recently spent several weeks in Kabul. The report by Kothari accuses Fahim -- and other senior cabinet members -- of active collusion in official land seizures. Kothari says those involved should be removed: Fahim, the minister of defense, is directly involved in this kind of occupation and dispossession. And ministers that are directly involved have to be removed. Fahim has not commented publicly on the accusations or the calls for his removal. Spurred by the media attention the two critical reports have received, Afghan Transitional Authority Chairman Hamid Karzai`s spokesman, Jawad Luddin, yesterday announced that an official investigation is being launched. The presidential office has appointed a commission to investigate the housing problem in Sherpur where houses of p

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