We, the participants at the Forum on the Participation of NGOs at 46th Ordinary Session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights held in Banjul 7th – 9th November 2009,
Mindful that member states of the African Union have committed themselves to promote and protect human and peoples’ rights including economic, social and cultural rights as set out in the AU Constitutive Act and the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights;
Concerned that each year, thousands of people across Africa are rendered homeless or landless and without sources of livelihood as a result of forced eviction, that the authorities usually carry out forced eviction in violation of regional and international human rights law, including the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and that in most cases evictions are conducted without due process, consultation, reasonable notice or adequate alternatives or compensation;
Mindful also that forced eviction as a last resort, once all other feasible alternatives have been explored and only after appropriate procedural and legal safeguards are in place including genuine consultation with the affected people, prior adequate and reasonable notice, adequate alternative housing and compensation for all losses, and that governments under the circumstances are required to ensure that no one is rendered homeless or vulnerable to other human rights violations as a consequence of an eviction;
Aware that situations of mass forced evictions have been documented in numerous African countries, including Angola, Chad, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Sudan, Swaziland and Zimbabwe and that in all these cases governments have acted in violation of regional and international human rights treaties, including the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights;
Aware that evictions result not only in people losing their homes and personal possessions but also access to clean water, food, sanitation, health and education, work and sources of income;
Deeply concerned that persons living in poverty are not only inclined to be victims of forced evictions but also to be negatively affected by the consequence of losing their homes and possession on their enjoyment of a wide range of economic and social rights human rights with a disproportionate burden shouldered by women and children;
We hereby call upon the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights to:
1. Condemn forced evictions any where on the African continent and to adopt guidelines on forced evictions that comply with regional and international human rights law.
2. Urge all member states of the AU to immediately stop forced evictions, to respect national and international law principles that guarantee the rights to own property and titles and to enact measures to protect the victims of forced evictions, particularly women, children, and indigenous people and ensure adequate alternative housing, health care and education facilities, clean water and sanitation and means of livelihoods.
3. Urge State Parties to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights to speedily adopt the Principles and Guidelines on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights in the African Charter and to promote and implement these principles and report on the progress made thereof.
4. Advice African states to enact national legislations that specifically prohibit forced evictions, clearly sets out the procedure and conditions in which evictions may be carried out, in accordance with regional and international human rights standards and provides for penalties on those carrying out forced evictions.
Done at Banjul, November 9th, 2009