Since 9 January 2021, more than 100 families have been forcibly evicted from the Newtown Airport district in Douala. Thousands of families could suffer the same fate in the coming days.
Indeed, in December 2020, the Prefect of Wouri sent a formal notice via the head of the New-Town Airport district, in which he invited the inhabitants of this district to take steps to vacate the site that they have been peacefully occupying for more than 35 years. On 9 January he forcibly evicted more than 100 families, without any respect for the relevant procedures, such as :
- The exhaustive census of the families concerned and the transmission of the formal notice to each of his families;
- The taking into account of the COVID-19 pandemic which is still raging in our country, and whose populations, now homeless, will certainly be left to the contagion and spread of the virus;
- The promotion of real frameworks for consultation with the victim populations and civil society organisations in order to help them understand the stakes of the measure, and to find together the means of psychological support and supervision for the populations forced to leave, most of whom have been living on the disputed site for decades;
- Taking into account the precarious state of the victims of forced evictions;
- Taking into account the United Nations Basic Principles and Guidelines on Development-Based Evictions and Displacement, in particular Annex 1 of the report of the Special Rapporteur on adequate housing as a component of the right to an adequate standard of living A/HRC/4/18;” 6. Forced evictions constitute egregious violations of a wide range of internationally recognized human rights, including the right to adequate housing, food, water, health, education, work, security of the person and security of the home, the right not to be subjected to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment …“.
As a reminder, many of the inhabitants of this district were victims of the Lake Nyos disaster, which occurred in 1986. These disaster victims were installed by the current President, H.E. Paul BIYA.