Africities Summit 2012 – 4-8 December
AI Index: AFR 01/014/2012
Africities 2012- is an international summit taking place in Dakar, Senegal, where delegates, including local government officials, city mayors, property developers and private companies from around the world, will discuss urban development in African cities.
Amnesty International is attending the summit to remind delegates of their obligations under international human rights law and to call upon them to end forced evictions and respect the right to adequate housing.
African cities and forced evictions
According to UN Habitat, around three out of every four people living in an African city south of the Sahara live in an informal settlement or “slum”. The reason for this vast number of city dwellers living in slums is that governments in Africa have failed to plan for affordable places to live in the city.
Every year in African cities thousands of families are removed from their homes or land they occupy without legal protections and other safeguards. People living in informal settlements, or slums, often lack security of tenure placing them at even higher risk of forced eviction. The evictions are often carried out without genuine consultation, adequate and reasonable notice and often leave people homeless and vulnerable to other human rights violations.
Governments in Africa may be developing the city, but they are forgetting many of the people who live in it. Even if infrastructure development needs to take place, forced evictions are illegal and can never be the answer. By leaving people homeless, without their possessions or jobs, and their children driven out of school, forced evictions leave many destitute and deeper in poverty.
Forced evictions violate a range of international and regional human rights obligations, in particular the right to adequate housing. African governments are obliged to guarantee adequate housing and to refrain from and prevent forced evictions.
Amnesty International and Forced Evictions
Over the years Amnesty International has documented cases of forced evictions in Angola, Chad, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Sudan, Swaziland and Zimbabwe. See below for case studies from Ghana, Kenya and Nigeria.