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January 18, 2019

Stop inhumane Kibera demolitions, KNCHR tells KURA

A man collects a wooden board from the rubble of a house after bulldozers demolished dozens of houses to make way for a new road in the Kibera slum in Nairobi, Kenya, July 23, 2018. /REUTERS
A man collects a wooden board from the rubble of a house after bulldozers demolished dozens of houses to make way for a new road in the Kibera slum in Nairobi, Kenya, July 23, 2018. /REUTERS

Human rights activists have accused Kenya Urban Roads Authority of violating the agreement that would have seen victim of Kibera evicted in a humane way.

The Kenya National Commission on Human Rights has in this regard called for a stop to the on-going demolitions and evictions until the due process is followed.

The commission says KURA failed to implement the agreement reached with the National Land Commission (NLC), the affected persons and civil society organisations.

KNCHR chair Kagwiria Mbogori further castigated Kura's communication of the eviction notice saying the message was relayed via twitter.

Read: Kura, Amnesty in Twitter spat over Kibera demolitions

"KURA posted a press statement on its twitter platform dated July 20, 2018 purporting to have issued a notice to the residents to vacate over the weekend. The residents maintained they were unaware of the notice," Mbogori said.

The position is the same as that taken by rights lobby Amnesty International which accused the roads agency of executing the demolitions "illegally".

For her part, Mbogori added that evictions must be carried out lawfully, only in exceptional circumstances, and in full accordance with relevant provisions of national law and international human rights and humanitarian law.

She added that there is evidence showing that the ongoing demolitions have caused immense harm to the Kibera residents through disruption and destruction of their livelihoods.

Read: Agencies agree to compensate Kibera residents facing eviction

The Commission said the enumeration and relocation of affected persons must be finalised before structures are pulled down to pave way for the road linking Langata and Ngong Roads.

"We are also demanding that the government urgently offers adequate humanitarian support and to respond to the immediate needs of the affected people including shelter, food and clothing."

Mbogori said the Commission has also learnt that similar evictions and demolitions are imminent in Deep Sea slums and Ngara (Nyayo Market) in Nairobi.

The agency further called on KURA and other government agencies to ensure that all future displacements across the country are done in line with the law.

"The Commission reminds all the concerned agencies and individuals of the consequences of violating the law and the human rights provisions in our Constitution," Mbogori said.

Kibera demolitions, which started on Monday at dawn, have so far left hundreds of people homeless, destroyed livelihoods, learning institutions and places of worship.

KNCHR further accused Kura of defying court orders in Petition 974 of 2016 prohibiting the government from evicting residents of Kibera without putting in place a Resettlement Action Plan.

The High court on April 28 ordered that: "In the interests of justice and in order to avoid human suffering, the petitioners be included in the Lang’ata/Kibera Roads committee and be actively involved in the Resettlement Action Plan (RAP) for the Project Affected Persons (PAP)."

See: [Photos]: Anguish as houses demolished to pave way for Kibera link road

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