New Forced Evictions in Benin, Cities Alliance Reaffirms Strong Opposition
The Cities Alliance once again reaffirms its strong opposition to forced evictions, which the United Nations has classified as “ …a gross violation of human rights, in particular the right to adequate housing” (Commission on Human Rights, Resolution 1993/77). Not only do forced evictions destroy homes, networks and assets, and traumatise populations, they never solve the problem they purport to address.
Cities Alliance member, Slum Dwellers International, has joined with other organisations and affiliates to condemn the recent forced eviction of thousands of residents of Wxlacodji beach community in Cotonou, Benin. We also note the disturbing pattern of threats to waterfront communities in west Africa, following the evictions in Otodo Gbame in Lagos in 2017.
On Tuesday, 20 August 2019, the government demolished an estimated 160 houses in the Wxlacodji beach community without adequate notice or any resettlement plan for the thousands of residents who have suddenly found themselves homeless and living in desperate conditions.
According to the Neighborhood Chairman, Agbossi Anani:
[Representatives of the national government, the mayor of Cotonou, and the national police] came with caterpillars [excavators] to destroy the informal settlements. To our great surprise, they evicted and destroyed over 160 houses. The evicted residents had no warning. Following the exercise, people are left homeless. Many are sleeping outside and we have already recorded the death of a 15-year-old young man.
The sudden forced eviction of Wxlacodji beach has thrown tens of thousands of waterfront residents across Cotonou into a panic, fearing that dozens of other communities may face imminent eviction by the same authorities and suffer the same desperate fate.