This article discusses the development-based evictions and displacement in Egypt, Al-warraq island as an example.
Al-warraq is an agricultural Nile island in Giza with more than 100,000 inhabitants. It was classified as a natural reserve by the prime minister’s decree in 1998 which was abandoned following presidential instructions in July 2017. Since then, the government has been trying to forcefully evict Al-warraq island inhabitants in order to implement a new urban plan “Horus city”. The Horus design aspires to attract businesses and investments with its own helipad, seven stars hotels, riverboats marina and commercial and entertainment centers.
In this article, we introduce a brief background on the legal dispute between the inhabitants on one hand and the state on the other hand, beginning with earlier failed attempts for eviction during Mubarak’s era until the unfortunate incidents of the conflict.
Then, we articulate the inhabitants’ claims who lost the chances of outsiders’ solidarity amidst a hostile situation in Egypt preventing citizens from their legitimate rights to assemble and demonstrate. The affected populations had to face structural violence from different formal authorities on their own.
Finally, we monitor a wide variety of human rights violations committed against the civil citizens who were defending their guaranteed rights in institutional, national and international laws. These violations include: abduction, arbitrary arrests and detentions, the right to adequate housing, the right to property, the right to work, the right to food and the rights of peasants as collective rights, besides imposing blockade on the entries and exits of the island by the police and depriving people from some critical public services by the local government such as medical care.
To read the research in Arabic: هل تُصدِّق أن يزرع الفلاح المصري مانهاتن؟
Source of the cover photo: The farmer: Mosa’ab Elshamy/AP – The horus city: Egypt’s Projects Map.