The coup government recently announced that 71% of the total area of Warraq Island, located southwest of Cairo on the Nile River, has been reclaimed and came under the ownership of the Urban Communities Authority of the Ministry of Housing, in preparation for the eventual ownership of all the large Nile islands in the country.
As part of the government’s alleged development plan for Al-Warraq Island, which occupies a privileged position on the Nile River, a large number of the coup security forces recently launched a brutal campaign against the island’s residents to evict them and demolish their homes, claiming that they have violated state property.
On August 15, clashes erupted between the coup security forces and the island’s residents. Mada Masr revealed that the coup authorities had arrested 14 residents of Warraq Island while they resisted the police forces who were firing tear gas at them and raiding homes in preparation for their confiscation.
On August 19, a member of the coup parliament, Samira Al-Jazzar, condemned what she described as the forced displacement of the residents of Warraq Island after police forces used tear gas to disperse citizens protesting against the government’s decision to confiscate their homes.
Since 2014, the coup government has been planning to turn Warraq Island into a tourist park, as part of a broader project to develop Greater Cairo. The Sisi government has been seeking to eliminate many slums in Greater Cairo to preserve green spaces and turn them into a commercial, recreational and tourist park on the banks of the Nile.
On August 19, Al-Sisi’s Minister of Housing, Assem Al-Jazzar, issued an official statement confirming that the government is implementing a consensual purchase policy to develop Warraq Island, denying all allegations of “forced eviction” of the island’s residents.
“The Egyptian state has never adopted this method in any of its projects, and it can never do so,” he said.
On August 8, the coup government claimed that work is currently underway to implement a plan to develop Al-Warraq Island, with the aim of developing this area and taking advantage of its unique location to implement development projects.
She explained in a statement that financial compensation has been determined for all the island’s citizens and that there are in-kind compensation consisting of only 56 apartments that will be provided to the island’s residents in the cities of Obour and October Gardens, provided that the units are handed over to the beneficiaries after furnishing them free of charge with the support of the Ministry of Social Solidarity.
Assistant Housing Minister Abdel-Khaleq Ibrahim, the supervisor of the Warraq Island development project, told Al-Monitor, “The current government’s procedures to confiscate homes on the island are consensual and in accordance with the law, denying allegations of forced displacement.”
“The state recently evaluated the land on the island, where one acre was valued at 6 million Egyptian pounds,” he said [300 ألف دولار] Asserting that this value is perfectly fair, and most people have already accepted it, some residents have moved to other units, and others have already received compensation.
Ibrahim pointed out that the cost of alternative housing for the island’s residents amounted to 2 billion Egyptian pounds (104.3 million dollars) to build 4,000 housing units, and that the compensation amounts provided by the state amounted to 6 billion Egyptian pounds (313 million dollars).
He pointed out that more than 71% of the island’s land is currently owned by the state, indicating that the state will acquire the remaining area during the coming period after reaching settlements with the residents and providing them with fair compensation.
Ibrahim added, “The number of houses that have been transferred to the state has so far reached 2458, in addition to the seizure of all lands belonging to the Ministry of Awqaf except for small areas, not to mention the 68 acres of state-owned lands already there, leaving only 35.5 acres to be completed.” Obtained”.
He explained that the Sisi government is working to develop the island in several stages, the first of which is the construction of 40 towers, including 1,744 housing units, as part of a plan to build 94 residential towers at a later stage, with a total of 4,092 apartments, as well as many service facilities such as schools, medical units, recreational and commercial centers.
On the other hand, human rights lawyer Ahmed El-Gadami told Al-Monitor, “Article 63 of the Egyptian constitution clearly prohibits any acts of forced or arbitrary displacement of citizens in all its forms and manifestations, noting that the constitution stipulates that this is a crime that does not have a statute of limitations.”
He explained that the residents of Al-Warraq Island who rejected the authorities’ decision to forcibly evict them from their homes is evidence that a large segment of the population refuses to leave, and for this reason they clashed with the security forces that stormed the island in an attempt to evict them.
He pointed out that many photos and videos that spread in the media revealed the violence used by the security forces against the residents of the island, which indicates a clear violation of the Egyptian constitution and human rights treaties signed by Egypt.
Jamadi concluded his speech by saying, “The current government seeks to expel the poor from their humble homes in Cairo and its suburbs under the pretext of improving them, and the truth is that the government wants to use these lands, especially in promising areas, to implement huge investment projects for the benefit of Gulf investors, and it is also trying to bring some money to the treasury.” The state without taking into account the social repercussions or legal rules, thus destroying the lives and livelihoods of citizens.”
Source: بوابة الحرية والعدالة by fj-p.com.
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