afrol News, 29 March - Several citizens have died and a humanitarian crisis is in the making as the Angolan government evicts thousands of persons to make place for urban development. Evictions are also planned for Luanda and Benguela.
Forced evictions, starting earlier this month, have already left more than three thousand families homeless as demolition of their homes in Lubango city, Huíla province, in underway. Seven deaths have been reported during the evictions.
Many of the evicted families are now living in the open with their belongings, where bad weather is damaging their property. Many are also reportedly being robbed by bandits at night due to a lack of police protection.
According to those affected by the evictions, they will not receive any compensation from the government for damage caused to their homes, nor will they receive assistance with building materials for the reconstruction of their homes.
According to reports from the ground, the provincial governor of Huíla warned local media not to report the evictions.
The evictions mainly affect families in poor neighbourhoods. City and province authorities in Lubango city want to use the areas for modern housing constructions and urban development as real estate prices in the country are booming. Authorities hold the evicted are squatters having erected their houses on state or city property.
While the evictions have created little media attention in Angola, they are now causing protests from international humanitarian organisations. In a joint protest letter to the Provincial Governor of Huíla, the organisations warn that "the lack of water, sanitation and medical facilities for the displaced have created a humanitarian emergency."
Not only had international human rights guidelines to eviction processes "not been followed, but a human-made emergency was created," the letter says. "The state of Angola must cease immediately the illegal demolitions in the city of Lubango and other threatened evictions in other towns or rural areas in Angola," it added.
The organisations fear that the forced evictions in Lubango only are the beginning of a far greater humanitarian crisis when larger Angolan cities start on the same process. Further forced evictions have been threatened in Benguela, in Luanda, as well as in other poor urban neighbourhoods and rural communities in Angola.
"The state of Angola must ensure that further forced evictions will stop until basic standards, legislation and rules on carrying out an eviction can be put into practice in all the territory and protection is ensured to all Angolan citizens," the humanitarian organisations demand.
The three organisations protesting the evictions include the Centre on Housing Rights and Evictions (COHRE), Christian Aid and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT).
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