ICAHD

Is the House Demolitions Virus Spreading Abroad?

Amnesty International campaigns are highlighting the cases and threats of home demolitions in Libya and Mexico.

The home demolitions and evictions of families of Tabu origin in Libya are at the hands of the authorities, along with other forms of oppression and discrimination such as refused renewal or extension of indentification documents.

A study of the campaign action below sent out by Amnesty will make worryingly familiar reading for supporters of ICAHD. ICAHD Director Jeff Halper has been consistent in warning that the justice for Palestinians for which we are fighting has implications far beyond Israel-Palestine; that what the Israelis are meting out on the Palestinian population, ultimately leading to “warehousing” of a people, is exportable knowledge and experience which could shape the sort of world we will live in. In Halper’s recent article The Second Battle of Gaza, he lays out a convincing case for how Israel is redrawing the line in international law of what powerful states can get away with in situations of conflict with relatively powerless minorities.

Is it not unreasonable to suppose that Libyan powers have been studying the evictions and home demolitions of Palestinians, and learnt to apply similar methods, believed to have started in early November 2009, to the Tabu people living amongst them?

Urgent Action from Amnesty International

Libya – SCORES OF FAMILIES RISK HOMELESSNESS IN LIBYA

Families of Tabu origin in Kufra municipality, south-east Libya, are reported to have been forcibly evicted and have had their houses demolished by law enforcement officials. Many are now in urgent need of shelter. Further forced evictions and demolitions are expected to follow.

House demolitions and forced evictions in Kufra are believed to have started in early November 2009, with the burning of several huts and houses. Amnesty received reports that dozens of people were arrested in November when they attempted to prevent the demolitions. They were held by the Internal Security Agency, compelled to sign a document that they will not oppose the demolitions and subsequently released. These demolitions and house evictions came against the backdrop of discriminatory policies and practices against the Tabu community in Kufra and surrounding areas. In recent years, Amnesty

International has received reports of discrimination against members of Tabu tribes at the hands of the Libyan authorities. These have included being refused the renewal or extension of their identification documents, driving licences and passports. In other instance, Tabu parents were not able to register the birth of their children and were denied birth certificates.

Families have told Amnesty that those evicted were neither consulted about the evictions, nor given alternative housing. According to the information available to Amnesty, Tabu community leaders were contacted by local officials in June 2009, who told them of plans for demolitions without providing details of when they would take place and how many dwellings they would affect. The officials stated that this would make way for a road. to send appeals to

We are asked to write urging the Head of the Office of the Implementation of Housing Projects and Facilities in Kufra to immediately stop the forced evictions and the demolitions of the houses and to immediately provide adequate alternative housing and the necessary relief to those who had their houses demolished as well as urging that the process should not be discriminatory in any way.

Further information together with names and addresses to which letters should be sent can be downloaded here.

Mexico: HOMES AT RISK OF DEMOLITION IN LAND DISPUTE. A local (Farnham) Amnesty Urgent Action email contained the following information.

You will perhaps remember this particular dispute which I wrote to you about last year and in January of this year. The problems continue. The latest is that at 12.30 on 6 May, fifteen armed men arrived at the house of Carmen Quiñones and Aurelio Carranza in Lomas del Poleo in four vans. The men were carrying guns and large sticks and had two fighting dogs with them. The group’s leader works for the local landowner, who claims to be the true owner of the land of Lomas del Poleo and disputes the inhabitants’ ownership of the land. He told Aurelio Carranza, “You’re not going to be worth a thing you bastard, I’m going to demolish your house.” (“Vas a valer madre, pinche viejo, Te voy a tumbar la casa”).

Threats and intimidation have being going on since 2003 in this long running land dispute. An Agrarian Tribunal has been considering the land dispute over the ownership of the land for several months, during which the people living there have suffered more threats and intimidation. The Tribunal is expected to reach its conclusion soon, and the recent threats are thought to be an attempt to intimidate the people living in Lomas del Poleo into giving up their claim to ownership.

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