Money for Lyari Expressway Project from Kuwait Development Fund


The latest information about the Lyari Expressway Project in Karachi, Pakistan is that its funding is coming from the Kuwait Development Fund. Affected by the said project are the homes of some 25,000 families. Already nearly 5,000 families have been evicted. Thousands of shops, schools, clinics, mosques and churches have been demolished. The resettlement site is very inadequate. The project has met opposition from a broad spectrum of Pakistani society, from the affected communities and families themselves to NGOs, other civil society organizations, a good part of the mass media, academics, and political parties. The justness of their cause has even been recognized by Pakistani courts, such as the Sindh High Court. Their opposition has elicited wide support from international civil society organizations. It is important that the Kuwait Development Fund observe international human rights law, in particular the right to adequate housing and the right to development as enuntiated by the UN. One way we can do this is to send letters, as many as possible, to KDF. Below is a sample letter you may find useful. In solidarity, Ted Anana Program Coordinator Eviction Watch – ACHR ————————— SAMPLE LETTER 16 June 2004 Bader M. Al-Humaidhi Director General 965 2417943 965 2419064 Abdulwahab A Al-Bader Deputy Director General 965 2417940 965 2419060 Hamad S. Al-Omar Deputy Director General Administration and Finance Tel. 965 2417750 Fax. 965 2419060 Hesham I. Al-Waqayan Deputy Director General Operation and Disbursement Tel 965 2417750 Fax 965 2419060 Gentlemen: Greetings. My organization has received information from civil society organizations in Pakistan that your organization is funding the Lyari Expressway Project in Karachi, Pakistan. The same information also appeared in Pakistani newspapers. This project is extremely controversial and has met broad opposition in Pakistan and abroad ranging from the affected families and communities, civil society organizations, professionals, the mass media, academics and political parties to international civil society organizations. Please consider the following: The UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Adequate Housing wrote in July 2002 to President Musharaff to express deep concern about the project and the forced evictions that it has caused. Moreover, as project funder KDF must observe closely the Comprehensive Human Rights Guidelines on Development-based Displacements convened 11-13 June 1997 by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. It says in nos.8 and 16 respectively: “States should ensure that international organizations in which they are represented refrain from sponsoring or implementing any project, programme or policy which may involve the carrying out of forced evictions not in full conformity with international law and the present Guidelines.” ” States should fully explore all possible alternatives to any act involving forced eviction. In this regard, all affected persons.. shall have the right to all relevant information and the right to full participation and consultation throughout the entire process and to propose any alternatives.” The Kuwait Development Fund is presumed to recognize and embrace the principles governing ODAs as generally observed by European, American,Asian and other Arabic organizations, such as people’s participation, adequate compensation and resettlement, human rights, environmental protection, good governance and transparency. In 2003 the Asian Coalition for Housing Rights conducted a fact finding mission to the said project and found numerous violations of the human right of the affected families, including the right to adequate housing. A copy of the mission’s statement on the Lyari project was sent to you by Eviction Watch of ACHR. Many opposition politicians have likewise raised questions concerning corruption related to the said project. In October 2003 the Sindh High Court ordered the Pakistan government to review the project and to look into alternatives that will minimize the number of evictions and demolitions, the destruction to the environment and the negative impacts on Karachi as well as bring down the cost of the project. The said project will affect some 25,000 families and so far has forcibly evicted nearly 5,000 families. Thousands of shops, schools, clinics, mosques and churches have been demolished as well. Not all evictees were relocated and the minority who were, were inadequately resettled. While we recognize the Kuwait government’s and KDF’s good intention to help the people of Pakistan through this project (which unfortunately is too controversial), we urge you not to rush headlong into it and to consider doing the following: . Get information about the project other than those provided to you by the Pakistan government. A good source of information on the project from the perspective of civil society and the affected families is the Urban Resource Center in Karachi which has a website: . Send an inspection/fact finding team who will talk to government officials, but equally important, to representatives and leaders of the affected communities, non-governmental organizations and other civil society organizations, visit the project-affected communities and the resettlement site. The team should study comprehensively the project, the objections of the affected communities and civil society organizations as well as their alternative proposals which they say will evict less number of families and will be less expensive and detrimental to the environment and to the city. . Ask the Pakistani government to observe the promise it gave in 2002 (which till now has remained unfulfilled) to the affected families and communities to: a. form a technical committee composed of three experts chosen by the affected communities and three experts from the government who will conduct a review of the project; b. said group of experts will study the alternative design formulated by the affected communities’civil society experts. In the meantime, all evictions should be suspended. It is our wish and hope that the Kuwait Development Fund will help resolve this controversy to the benefit and satisfaction of the affected communities, civil society and the government. Truly yours, Name Organization