June 25, 2019
Clinic Contributes to New Human Rights Watch Research on Forced Evictions in Guinea
Human Rights Watch recently released research revealing a devastating round of forced evictions in Guinea’s capital, Conakry. The initial spark for the research came from fieldwork conducted this spring, when students in the International Human Rights Clinic at Harvard Law School interviewed victims of the evictions.
HRW’s press release provides detail about the circumstances unfolding in Guinea and what the government should do to abide by international law:
“Between February and May 2019, more than 20,000 people were displaced after bulldozers and other heavy machinery demolished buildings and forcibly evicted residents from the Kaporo-Rails, Kipé 2, Dimesse, and Dar Es Salam neighborhoods. Guinea’s government said that the land belongs to the state and will be used for government ministries, foreign embassies, businesses, and other public works.
“‘The Guinean government hasn’t just demolished homes, it has damaged peoples’ lives and livelihoods,’ said Corinne Dufka, West Africa director at Human Rights Watch. ‘The failure to provide alternative housing or even immediate humanitarian assistance to those evicted is a violation of human rights law and shows a blatant disregard for human dignity.’
In March, April, and June, Human Rights Watch interviewed 40 victims of evictions in Conakry, as well as government officials, lawyers, nongovernmental organizations, religious leaders, and politicians. Human Rights Watch also reviewed satellite imagery, which showed that at least 2,500 buildings were demolished in the Kaporo-Rails, Kipé 2, and Dimesse neighborhoods in February and March and more than 385 buildings in Dar-Es-Salam in May
.The Ministry for Towns and Planning, which oversaw the evictions, maintains that the evicted areas were state land. However, many of the people whose homes were demolished said they had documentary proof that their families had decades-old property rights over the land. ‘It’s devastating to lose everything you have in 30 minutes,’ said Makia Touré, a mother of six who said her family had lived in Kipé 2 since 1985.”
To read the full press release and for more, visit the HRW website.