SEND-Ghana
SEND-Ghana

SEND GHANA is greatly dismayed with the ruthless demolition exercise that rendered scores of slum dwellers in Old Fadama homeless and thus exposing the inhabitants, including women and children to the risk of being infected by the novel Coronavirus.

According to a release by SEND GHANA copied to News Ghana, signed by the Country Director Mr. George Osei-Akoto Bimpeh, “To undertake such exercise at a time that a section of the settlement had been razed down by fire, and at the height of a pandemic, without assessing its ramifications on the vulnerable citizens is most reprehensible and demonstrates government’s insensitivity to the plight of the people.

We believe, without any shred of doubt that the way and manner the demolition exercise was carried out constitutes an infringement of the affected citizens’ right to housing, and in particular, non-compliance with the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR).

Article 11 of the convention states in part that “States Parties to the present Covenant recognize the right of everyone to an adequate standard Of living for himself and his family including adequate food, clothing, and housing.”

On the basis of the declaration, Ghana as a state party has refused to take appropriate steps to ensure the realization of this right for the affected people.

On Wednesday, April 15, 2020, the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) embarked on a demolition exercise at Old Fadama in Accra. It is estimated that over 1.000 slum-dwellers were rendered homeless after the wooden structures that sheltered them were pulled down to pave way for the annual ritual of dredging the Korle Lagoon.

It is imperative to emphasize that part of the measures outlined by the government in combating the spread of the deadly Coronavirus is the directive for people to observe social distancing and stay at home, especially those living in the affected areas where the partial lockdown is being enforced.

The question is, how does the central government expect people who by the action of the AMA have become ‘homeless’ to stay at home in compliance with the lockdown rules?

How can such distraught people observe basic hygienic rules required to avoid infection by the Coronavirus? Is it not a clear defiance of logic that the very vulnerable citizens that the government claims to be protecting in this moment of crisis are the same people whose rights have been violated and their dignity severely injured by the action of a local government?

How was this action coordinated to reflect the intentions of the central government?

SEND GHANA is aware of the perennial flooding that usually plagues the area and other parts of Accra as a result of illegal structures put on waterways. and therefore, appreciates the government’s effort in working proactively to avert the
situation.

However, the timing of the demolition exercise is wrong and has been carried out without a human face. To render people homeless during a lockdown, occasioned by a global pandemic is unnecessary and could have been avoided.

We therefore wish to add our voice to the many views already expressed by well-meaning Ghanaians and human rights advocates, including Amnesty International Ghana, in calling on the government to immediately halt any further demolition exercise until we stem the tide in our collective efforts to defeating COVID-19.

We again call on the government to immediately arrange for temporary accommodation facilities to relocate those affected by the demolition to guarantee their safety and protect their human dignity.”

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