UN experts raise concerns over Khori Gaon evictions

Faridabad Municipal Corporation workers demolish structures at Khori village, after Supreme Court directed removal of encroachments in the Aravalli forest land, in Faridabad, on Thursday, July 16, 2021.   | Photo Credit: PTI

UN experts have called on India to halt evictions of nearly 1 lakh people, including 20,000 children, at Khori Gaon in Faridabad.

Demolition of homes began on Wednesday, following a Supreme Court order last month on complete removal of the settlement by July 19. Some 2,000 homes were demolished earlier in two waves in September 2020 and April this year. The land was designated as a protected forest in 1992, despite there being no forests on it.

“We appeal to the Indian government to respect its own laws and its own goal of eliminating homelessness by 2022 and to spare homes of 1,00,000 people who mostly come from minority and marginalised communities. It is particularly important that residents be kept safe during the pandemic.” Special Rapporteurs Balakrishnan Rajagopal, Mary Lawlor, Cecilia Jimenez-Damary, Fernand de Varennes, Pedro Arrojo-Agudo, Olivier De Schutter, Koumbou Boly Barry, said in a joint statement.

The experts said residents “have already been hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, and the eviction order would put them at greater risk and bring even more hardship to some 20,000 children — many of whom may remain out of school — and 5,000 pregnant or breastfeeding women.”

“We call on India to urgently review its plans for razing Khori Gaon and to consider regularising the settlement so as not to leave anyone homeless. No one should be forcibly evicted without adequate and timely compensation and redress,” the experts said.

They were also critical of the Supreme Court.

“The role of the Supreme Court is to uphold the laws and to interpret them in light of internationally-recognized human rights standards, not to undermine them. In this case, the spirit and purpose of the Land Acquisition Act 2013, among other domestic legal requirements, have not been met.”

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Printable version | Jan 19, 2022 2:37:55 PM |

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