UN expert raises concerns over eviction of slum dwellers in Delhi

The United Nations special rapporteur on the right to adequate housing, Balakrishnan Rajagopal, on Monday raised concerns over the eviction of slum dwellers along railway tracks in Delhi.

In a statement issued in Geneva, Mr. Rajagopal said it did not appear that those affected by the decision were consulted. The Supreme Court had on August 31 issued an order to evict around 48,000 households living along the tracks, giving residents three months to leave, the statement said.

Denial of justice

“This amounts to a full-fledged denial of justice for the low-income people living along the railway tracks. If this is maintained, India will squarely violate Article 2.3 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights containing the core human rights principle that everyone can seek judicial relief against any decision she or he considered arbitrary.”

Relocation plan

He welcomed the second ruling of the court to temporarily stop the evictions, but added that the four weeks’ time given was not enough for a formulating a reasonable rehabilitation or relocation plan that would meet standards of international law in consultation of the large number of households.

He asked the government to stop all evictions during the pandemic to prevent community spread of COVID-19.

“While the relocation of some residents living in very close proximity to a railway track may be needed to protect them from potential railway accidents, any such eviction would only be compatible with international human rights law after a relocation plan is developed in consultation with the affected households and after alternative land or housing is made available to them in proximity to their current place of residence,” said Mr. Rajagopal.

He “called on the Supreme Court to reconsider the case in light of India’s international human rights obligations, noting that the court has a strong reputation of having delivered several landmark human rights decisions”, the statement said.

The statement added that Mr. Rajagopal had contacted the government to clarify the matter and asked that his concerns be shared with the the court.

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Printable version | Nov 1, 2020 3:26:19 AM |

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