UN Human Rights experts appealed Indian Govt to halt Khori Gaon demolitions

The United Nations Human Rights experts have appealed Indian government to review its decision of razing Khori Gaon in Faridabad, Haryana, which would result in mass eviction of almost one lakh people, out of which 20,000 are children and 5,000 pregnant and breast-feeding women.

The experts asked the government to reconsider their plans as the same would leave several people homeless, given the monsoon season and surging threats of third wave of pandemic. They further asked the government to not forcibly evict people without any adequate compensation.

As per the Supreme Court’s order on June 7, 2021, the encroachments on forest land were asked to be removed within six weeks. The order was delivered in a plea which sought for a stay on demolition of above 10,000 houses which had been planned by the Municipal Corporation of Faridabad.

The experts reminded the government to respect its own laws and goals of eliminating homelessness by the year 2022. It appealed the government spare the people residing there as they came from marginalized and minority communities.

They also pointed out the existing tragedies of people residing in Khori Gaon, and how their condition depreciated due to the pandemic. It was underlined that such plans of government would pose greater risk towards the residents.

The experts also referred to earlier precedents which Supreme Court had set in order to protect individuals’ housing rights, and compared it with the recent order which did not look up to any compromise with forest lands, but to internal displacement and evictions.

They also highlighted that the role of apex court is to uphold laws and interpret them in the light of internationally-recognized human rights standards, and not take them for granted. They agreed that the settlements were in protected forest lands, however, the same was ruined and destroyed decades ago due to heavy rains.

The experts ranged from various Special Rapporteurs who take stand for the right to standard living, situation of human rights defenders, human rights of displaced persons, right to safe and clear drinking water, extreme poverty and human rights, and right to education.

Dayakar Arra – Advocate | Call: 8790587665

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