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Open Letter about W Nairobi W Campaign

Fantini, 5

Photo: Francesco Fantini

The W Nairobi W! campaign, active since March 2004 in Italy and the rest of Europe, as well as in Kenya, has successfully opposed the Kenyan government’s threat to forcibly evict 350,000 slum dwellers from their homes. in Nairobi.

We now denounce
Two serious episodes of violence and injustice which have dealt a heavy blow to the city of Nairobi and the lives of its slum-dwellers:

  1. In the shanty town of Deep Sea (Westlands- Nairobi, Kenya), on the night of Friday 23rd September at half past midnight, thousands of Kenyan citizens were woken from their sleep by a bulldozers, accompanied by armed police, soldiers and men hired for the occasion. Without any notice and in total violation of the law, they began to demolish the dwellings in which people were still sleeping. By the following morning over 3,000 people, including women, children, the sick and the elderly, found themselves homeless and destitute.
  2. In the Mukuru rubbish dump between Dandora and Korogocho (Eastlands – Nairobi, Kenya), on Saturday 1st October at 8.30 am, shanty-dwellers, shepherds and priests resident in the slums near the dump (Dandora and Korogocho) joined together to march pacifically for their rights to health (dioxen fumes are the main cause of the respiratory diseases and cancer which the slum-dwellers suffer from) and security (the dump is a violent place with criminal gangs and hidden weapons). The peaceful march was attacked three times; bottles, stones and other objects were thrown at the marchers causing injuries. The police, who had authorized the protest and who should have protected the marchers, were summoned several times, but only showed up after the violence had taken place.

These two episodes are the latest in a series of violations of human rights and international law.
At Deep Sea, government representatives were responsible for the arbitrary violation not only of property and the right to security of tenure, but also the hopes of the poor.
By allowing the demolition of Deep Sea, the Kenyan government has violated General Comment No. 7 of 16th May 1997 of Article 11 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ratified by Kenya, and therefore forming part of national law) in which the state is given “The State itself must refrain from forced evictions and ensure that the law is enforced against its agents or third parties who carry out forced evictions.”
Additionally, the police force has once again been used to defend the questionable interests.
Both episodes of violence are a crime against men and women, the poor and slum dwellers. They constitute a flagrant violation of human rights.
The W Nairobi W Campaign calls on
national parliaments, the European parliament and UN-Habitat to exert the utmost political pressure on the Kenyan government to carry out thorough investigations forthwith, to prosecute those responsible for these despicable acts, and to ensure compliance with the International Convention on human rights in Kenya;
The Campaign calls for
co-ordinated action of solidarity at an international level and within Kenya against the demolition and forced forced evictions, in favour of decent housing, the cancellation of the foreign debt and the channelling of the resourses thus liberated into a People’s Fund for Land and Houses, earmarked for the redistribution of land and housing policies in favour of the poor.
The Campaign appeals
to the media, organizations, local authorities and bodies, individual campaign supporters to bring the grave facts in question to public attention and denounce them.
Monday, 10th October 2005
For the co-ordinating committee of the Viva Nairobi Viva Campaign:
p. Alex Zanotelli, p. Daniele Moschetti, p. Dario Bossi, Cesare Ottolini, Silvia Marcuz, p. Franco Franco Cellana, Monica Gaspari, Luisa Zanotelli, Fabrizio Floris

This letter will be delivered to the members of parliament of various countries, the Europea parliament, the Kenyan Government, Nairobi City Council and UN-Habitat

>>> Every step of the WNW campaign has been documented on www.giovaniemissione.it and www.habitants.org

>>> Click here for news World Zero Evictions Campaign

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