Monday, 15 January 2007

ULTIMO RELATORIO DA AI: DEMOLICOES EM LUANDA

AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL PRESS RELEASE


Angola: Catholic Church involved in forced evictions






Amnesty International today, 15.01.07, released a report revealing the scale and extent of forced evictions in Angola, and expressing particular concern at forced evictions carried out by Angolan authorities, apparently at the request of the Catholic Church in Angola. The organization said that nearly all of the forced evictions were accompanied by excessive use of force, which sometimes involved police beatings of children and women -- including one pregnant woman -- and indiscriminate shooting at residents attempting to protect their homes. According to the report, Lives in ruins: forced evictions continue, thousands of families have been forcibly evicted since 2001 -- nearly always without notification to the families affected. Tens of thousands have been left without shelter, with hundreds of families still living their lives in ruins.


Since September 2004, the homes of residents in the Kilamba Kiaxi municipality have been demolished repeatedly to make room for public and private housing projects. In 2006, the Angolan government publicly acknowledged the right to compensation of those forcibly evicted, and proclaimed that it was reviewing its housing strategy with a view to responding to the housing needs of its urban population. Thus far, none of the affected residents of Kilamba Kiaxi has received compensation or alternative adequate accommodation. "Despite these claims by the government, the housing situation in Luanda has not improved -- in fact, hundreds of families are still homeless after having been forced from their homes," said Tawanda Hondora, Deputy Director of Amnesty International's Africa Programme.















"Disturbingly, many forced evictions in the last two years have been carried out apparently at the request of the Catholic Church." In 1998, the Angolan government formally returned to the Catholic Churchland the Church owned prior to independence, in response to a request by the late Pope John Paul II when he visited Angola in 1992. However, families have been living on this land -- in the Wenji Maka neighbourhood of Luanda -- for several years, or even decades in some cases. When granting the land title to the Catholic Church, Angolan authorities reportedly did not take into consideration those people already living on the land, and national police have repeatedly tried to expel over 2,000 families in the area where the Catholic Church intends to build a sanctuary.



In response to Amnesty International's request for information regarding the Catholic Church's involvement in these forced evictions, the Archbishop of Luanda stated the Church, when reclaiming title over land, had asked the government to provide land in other areas for the affected individuals. The Archbishop also alleged that in many instances individuals put up constructions on land when they found out that the Church had intentions to use the land. The Archbishop further justified the actions of the Church by saying "summum ius summa iniuria" (extreme law, extreme justice) -- or, as the Archbishop interpreted it, "justica absoluta pode desembocar em injustica" (absolute justice can result in injustice)."



The Catholic Church should not ask the Angolan authorities to evict people occupying land to which the Church has been granted title, " said Tawanda Hondora. "However, the primary responsibility for forced evictions rests with the Angolan government, which must not only stop all such illegal action, but also provide assistance to victims of previous forced evictions who remain without shelter and issue clear orders to law enforcement personnel that they must not take part in any further forced evictions and prosecute those responsible for human rights violations."



Background: The Angolan government is reportedly planning the biggest urban project ever attempted in Africa, and is implementing other construction projects with the support of the Chinese government. The resulting increased pressure for urban land is resulting in forced evictions of the poorest families of Luanda from various neighbourhoods in the capital city, driving such families into ever deeper poverty.

Ler relatorio completo aqui.

AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL PRESS RELEASE


Angola: Catholic Church involved in forced evictions






Amnesty International today, 15.01.07, released a report revealing the scale and extent of forced evictions in Angola, and expressing particular concern at forced evictions carried out by Angolan authorities, apparently at the request of the Catholic Church in Angola. The organization said that nearly all of the forced evictions were accompanied by excessive use of force, which sometimes involved police beatings of children and women -- including one pregnant woman -- and indiscriminate shooting at residents attempting to protect their homes. According to the report, Lives in ruins: forced evictions continue, thousands of families have been forcibly evicted since 2001 -- nearly always without notification to the families affected. Tens of thousands have been left without shelter, with hundreds of families still living their lives in ruins.


Since September 2004, the homes of residents in the Kilamba Kiaxi municipality have been demolished repeatedly to make room for public and private housing projects. In 2006, the Angolan government publicly acknowledged the right to compensation of those forcibly evicted, and proclaimed that it was reviewing its housing strategy with a view to responding to the housing needs of its urban population. Thus far, none of the affected residents of Kilamba Kiaxi has received compensation or alternative adequate accommodation. "Despite these claims by the government, the housing situation in Luanda has not improved -- in fact, hundreds of families are still homeless after having been forced from their homes," said Tawanda Hondora, Deputy Director of Amnesty International's Africa Programme.















"Disturbingly, many forced evictions in the last two years have been carried out apparently at the request of the Catholic Church." In 1998, the Angolan government formally returned to the Catholic Churchland the Church owned prior to independence, in response to a request by the late Pope John Paul II when he visited Angola in 1992. However, families have been living on this land -- in the Wenji Maka neighbourhood of Luanda -- for several years, or even decades in some cases. When granting the land title to the Catholic Church, Angolan authorities reportedly did not take into consideration those people already living on the land, and national police have repeatedly tried to expel over 2,000 families in the area where the Catholic Church intends to build a sanctuary.



In response to Amnesty International's request for information regarding the Catholic Church's involvement in these forced evictions, the Archbishop of Luanda stated the Church, when reclaiming title over land, had asked the government to provide land in other areas for the affected individuals. The Archbishop also alleged that in many instances individuals put up constructions on land when they found out that the Church had intentions to use the land. The Archbishop further justified the actions of the Church by saying "summum ius summa iniuria" (extreme law, extreme justice) -- or, as the Archbishop interpreted it, "justica absoluta pode desembocar em injustica" (absolute justice can result in injustice)."



The Catholic Church should not ask the Angolan authorities to evict people occupying land to which the Church has been granted title, " said Tawanda Hondora. "However, the primary responsibility for forced evictions rests with the Angolan government, which must not only stop all such illegal action, but also provide assistance to victims of previous forced evictions who remain without shelter and issue clear orders to law enforcement personnel that they must not take part in any further forced evictions and prosecute those responsible for human rights violations."



Background: The Angolan government is reportedly planning the biggest urban project ever attempted in Africa, and is implementing other construction projects with the support of the Chinese government. The resulting increased pressure for urban land is resulting in forced evictions of the poorest families of Luanda from various neighbourhoods in the capital city, driving such families into ever deeper poverty.

Ler relatorio completo aqui.

4 comments:

Kimagola said...

accompanied by excessive use of force, which sometimes involved police beatings of children and women -- including one pregnant woman -- and indiscriminate shooting at residents

...pois é o Mundo Cão gira , gira, gira , e ficam alguns tontos (enjoados) das voltas, talvez...
Acordei agora .Em que ano estamos?1350 , 1750 ,1948 ,2007
Kimangola

Koluki said...

Welcome Kimangola!

Pois e', my friend, o mundo cao gira, gira e voltamos sempre ao mesmo... Mas estamos mesmo em 2007 AD...

Obrigada pelo comment e va aparecendo.

Joshua said...

This is just not right. Where are all these people expected to go to especially after the floods. Koluki, how bad is the situation there?

Koluki said...

Joshua, the situation there is as bad as it looks and sounds from the various reports on the media. I've posted here extracts of an email from a friend in Luanda (it's still on the front page, but in Portuguese) on the day to which those photographs at Ne-Kongo report to, and she mentioned the rising of paludism to add to the already existing cholera epidemic... so, you can imagine that those that were already without a roof over their heads and living in tents or other precarious accommodation as a result of these demolitions were the most affected and probably constitute the bulk of casualties, which amount to more than a hundred! Now, a couple of days ago, it was reported that the government has started to provide some temporary accommodation to the most affected. I don't know the exact details of this operation, but I doubt (and I very much hope to be wrong on this...) that all the worst off, which include those evicted, will be taken care of. Meanwhile, the national forecasting agency is predicting heavy rains until March... which means, under the current conditions, nothing less than a catastrophe is looming!