Urgent Action Appeal: CAM-DN-121110 – Populations to be moved from Railway properties in Bonabéri and Bessenguè (Douala)

I. Summary
What seems to be an ongoing program of forced evictions and demolitions in Cameroon has not stopped, even after the many cases that have already been the subject of urgent appeals, particularly in the Bois des Singes, Bassa-Kongui, and Newtown Airport districts. The wave of evictions continues in Douala, despite all the protests that followed the announced demolition of these neighborhoods.

As the daily le jour reported in its issue No. 791 (11 October 2010), the demolition of 50 houses in the district called Vita Road (“parcours Vita”), in Douala, was announced. The displacement of the Bonaberi and Bessenguè populations living along the railway network was reported in the issue No. 796 (18 October 2010).

According to various sources, a delegation of the Civil Cabinet of the Presidency of the Republic stayed in the Vita Road district of Douala on Sunday, 26 September 2010. This delegation included a representative of the Douala Municipality. After the visit of such an impressive contingent, no one should ignore that many families will be homeless in a few days, many with infants, and with sociocultural ties broken.

In the case of the railway properties, and according to the 18 October 2010 edition of the newspaper le jour, a delegation led by Pierre Simon Nguele, the Director of the State Property in the Ministry of State Property and Land, and composed of several services, visited Bonabéri and Bessenguè, in Douala. The newspaper states that “the death knell will sound for the occupants of the railway properties,” and, in fact, hundreds of people might find themselves homeless in a few days.

II. Affected People
Reports indicate that nearly 290 people are currently threatened with eviction in the Vita Road district, and almost twice as many of those living along the railways in Bonabéri and Bessenguè. The people affected are civil servants, local merchants, traders, hairstylists, lower-income workers and families with school-age children, young people and even elderly people.

III. Perpetrators of Violations
The mission sent by the Civil Cabinet of the Presidency of the Republic indicate that the order to demolish the Vita Road district of Douala was given by the Presidency, and hence the highest authority in Cameroon.

The Ministry of State Property and Land, by sending to Douala its Director of the State Property to coordinate working sessions with other services and the visit of various sites, seems to be the institution responsible for the decision of clearing out the populations of the railway properties of Bonabéri and Bessenguè.

To download the complete case, please click here (or copy/paste on your browser the link: http://www.hic-gs.org/content/CAM-DN%20121110%20eng.pdf)
To download the sample letter, please click here (or copy/paste on your browser the link: