Over 60 heavily armed police officers ambushed residents of the City Carton informal settlement near Wilson Airport this morning, and oversaw the demolition of the homes of more than 250 families. Bulldozers flattened all houses and left over 1,000 people homeless.
The residents of the City Carton informal settlement were on 11 April served with a 14-day notice to vacate from their homes. They have since been living in great anxiety with no information whether they would be resettled.
Amnesty International Kenya together with the residents has in recent weeks visited numerous authorities to seek more information about the notice. We visited the Assistant County Commissioner of Nairobi West, the Administration Police Commander – Langata Sub-County, the Officer Commanding Station Langata, the Nairobi City Planner, the Nairobi County Executive Committee, the city’s multi-agency enforcement authority and the Nairobi County Director of Planning, Compliance and Enforcement, in whose name the eviction order was issued, and they all denied knowledge of the eviction notice. However, none of them assured the residents that the eviction would not take place.
“Nairobi authorities cannot leave City Carton residents in this desperate situation especially at a time of heavy rains and flooding. This is forced eviction which is a gross violation of the right to adequate housing. It will not only severely impact on the livelihoods of the residents, but will also result in children missing school,” said Naomi Barasa, Amnesty International Kenya’s Campaign Manager for the Right to Adequate Housing.
“In the absence of any consultation or resettlement plans and other safeguards, the eviction has certainly rendered the families homeless, and put their health and safety at risk. We call on the authorities to follow due process as required by law.”
For most of the residents, this is their third or fourth forced eviction. Memories of being forcibly evicted by the Kenya Airports Authority in 2011, and by the Moi Educational Centre in 2013 are still fresh in the minds of many.
Kenya has ratified the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights, and domesticated these in the Constitution of Kenya 2010 in Article 43. These commitments bind Kenya to respect and protect the right to adequate housing, and against harassing its citizens out from of their homes.
Amnesty International calls on the government to:
Immediately provide all necessary support and assistance to victims of the forced evictions. Such assistance should include access to adequate housing, water, sanitation, education, health care, food and clothing, and support in re-establishing businesses and access to paid work.
The city authorities must consult and engage residents on effective remedies to forced eviction.