Residents Evicted after Blaze

What is affected
Housing Social/public
Housing private
Type of violation Forced eviction
Date 27 March 2007
Region MENA [ Middle East/North Africa ]
Country Egypt
Location Cairo1

Affected persons

Total 1750
Men 0
Women 0
Children 0
Proposed solution
Details EGY-FE-270307.doc

Forced eviction
Housing losses
- Number of homes 350
- Total value €

Duty holder(s) /responsible party(ies)

Brief narrative

The Egyptian security forces, under the auspices of the Ministry of Interior, attacked the local residents of Qal`at al-Kabsh, an informal housing settlement in the Cairo district of Zainhum, on 22 March 2007 with tear gas bombs in an effort to force the residents to leave the remnants of their homes.

These events took place two days after a fire broke out in the area on 20 March 2007, destroying over 350 homes. Not having been provided with alternative shelter or compensation, the victims of the fire were left with no choice but to sleep on the streets. In an attempt to gain government assistance, the residents of Qal`at al-Kabsh demonstrated in front of Parliament on 21 March 2007. The residents demanded from local authorities to provide them with alternative housing after the fire destroyed their homes and belongings.

The Governor of Cairo. Abd ul-Athim Wazir, along with other national authorities, including President Husni Mubarak, promised alternative housing and emergency aid for the victims. However, only 70 families of approximately 1,000 received the promised assistance.

On the morning of Thursday, 22 March 2007, residents of Qal`at al-Kabsh, including those unharmed by the fire and those who lived in moveable homes, awoke to find the area surrounded by a large number of Egyptian police, Central Security forces and army trucks. Authorities demanded, without prior notice, that residents leave their simple homes immediately. Seeing this as their forced eviction, particularly in that it conflicted with what authorities had promised them, the residents protested. The security forces then arbitrarily attacked the residents with teargas bombs, injuring a large number of children, elderly and sick persons, some of whom experienced severe respiratory problems as a result of the choking teargas.

The attacks halted only after a large number of journalists, television and human rights observers descended on the area. Representatives from HLRN and the ECHR were also present and collected evidence and personal testimonies of the violations experienced by the residents.

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