Planned de-densification of informal settlements must put human rights first - Amnesty International
Durban - Plans by Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation Minister Lindiwe Sisulu, to "de-densify" some of the country's most crowded informal settlements must prioritise human rights, Amnesty International said on Tuesday.
Sisulu announced on Monday that five areas has been identified to relocate people from high-density informal settlements in an effort to stop the spread of Covid-19. The areas are Dunoon in the Western Cape, Duncan Village in the Eastern Cape, Kennedy Road in Durban, Stjwetla in Alexandra and Mooiplaas in Tshwane.
Amnesty International's executive director for South Africa, Shenilla Mohamed, said the de-densification process must not lead to forced evictions and "must include human rights safeguards including genuine consultation with affected people".
"Relocation can be extremely disruptive and at a time when social networks and community support are key, governments must explore all alternatives to de-densification including equipping informal settlements with protective measures such as facilities in the vicinity where people can self-isolate if necessary.
"The government must ensure that all those living in informal settlements as well as those who are relocated as part of the de-densification process are not cut off from their sources of livelihood and have immediate access to adequate housing, safe and reliable water and sanitation facilities, access to health care and food in line with national and international human rights laws and standards."
Government should prioritise human rights and "leave no one behind", said Mohamed.
African News Agency (ANA)
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