The land at the heart of this debate has been designated by the State as a railway reserve and comprises 100 ft on either side of the tracks. According to media reports, the Kenyan Railways Corporation (KRC), a parastatal company, served a public notice on 21 March 2010 to all the inhabitants living on this land to leave within 30 days to make way fro the planned expansion of the railway. Approximately 50,000 people are at risk of eviction, violent treatment and homelessness having been offered no alternative solution by either the Kenyan Government or the Kenya Railways Corporation.
Neither the state nor the KRC has made any plans for compensation or relocation of the residents. The planned violation of the inhabitants’ right to adequate housing will likely create a human catastrophe since most of the residents are among the poortest of Nairobi and have no alternative solution and/or shelter. Any evictions without proper and adequate resettlement will result in the disruption of access to schools, health services, sanitation, water and food. Moreover, in light of the large number of persons expected to be evicted, HLRN is concerned about the physical safety of the residents and fears that the lack of any precautions or safety measures will put the residents at risk of violence.
While the causes may appear logistically legitimate, their implementation definitely will not be if the government does not provide for any fair alternative solutions or compensation schemes, in compliance with the international human rights norms, including treaties, to which Kenya is bound. While Kenyan land laws and policies have generally been unclear and inadequate, Kenya is nonetheless bound to respect, protect, and fulfill the human rights to adequate housing.
Local communities are demanding that these plans be halted until a just and viable solution has been found for the affected inhabitants.
Urgent Action Request
While the local communities have been vigorously fighting these violations, they require international support. Your immediate action is urgently required. Link here to download a sample open letter to send out, including the addresses of relevant duty-holders. Alternatively, you can automatically support each case by visiting: http://www.hlrn.org/english/cases.asp.
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Urgent Actions Team