Egypt: Stop forced evictions and consult slum-dwellers to resolve housing crisis

August 23, 2011

Egypt: Stop forced evictions and consult slum-dwellers to resolve housing crisis

This inconsistent approach has spread suspicion among slum-dwellers that some of them are being cleared out of their homes not to protect them, but so that the land can be developed for commercial gain.

The organization also urged the authorities to rethink proposed massive development schemes, such as the Cairo 2050 master plan. 

The plan, announced in late 2008, aims to “redistribute” about two-thirds of greater Cairo’s projected population of 30 million in the year 2050 into new cities on the outer fringes.

Clearing the capital of its “shacks” to make way for investment projects appears to be an underlying objective of Cairo 2050.

Under the plan, 35,700 families living in 33 “shack areas” in Cairo and Giza, including those in Ezbet Abu Qarn in Old Cairo, would be cleared and moved to new settlements far from their current homes, uprooting them from their places of work.

In its report, Amnesty International addresses key recommendations to the Egyptian authorities, including urging them to review the Cairo 2050 master plan.

“The Egyptian government's first step should go back to the drawing board with Cairo 2050 so that the voices of those most affected can be adequately heard to develop a new plan to deal with the housing crisis in slums and put the needs of residents first,” said Kate Allen.

“The forced evictions must end. Where people are genuinely living in dangerous conditions and eviction is the only feasible option, there must be advance warning, consultation about resettlement, and adequate and prompt compensation. If people's lives are in imminent danger, they must be immediately relocated to temporary shelter before consultations can take place.”