BY PHILIP ANTOH | firstname.lastname@example.org
THE DAILY HERITAGE has chanced upon a letter written by Amnesty International, Ghana to the Minister of Railways Development, Mr Joe Ghartey to immediately halt an impending demolition of some 434 structures at Agbobloshie, near the Accra Brewery.
The impending eviction exercise sanctioned by the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) will lead to the displacement of over 1,000 residents.
In a letter dated September 9, 2018 signed by its Director, Mr Robert Akoto Amoafo, Amnesty International described the move as lacking due process backed by Ghanaian and international laws.
According to him, “Amnesty International’s attention had been drawn to a notice of eviction pasted on the walls and shops in some parts of the Agbogbloshie Township near the Accra Brewery; the said notice was from the AMA dated August 15 of which it gave the residents/traders of the area a month ultimatum to vacate the marked area.
“Our visit to and interactions with the residents of the area, the assemblyman, the Member of Parliament (MP) of the Odododiodoo Constituency, Mr Edwin Nii Lante Vanderpuye, the AMA and the Deputy Minister of Railways Development, Mr Andy Appiah-Kubi confirmed the notice of eviction at Agbogbloshie.”
The director said further checks revealed that the eviction would affect 1,118 residents.
Mr Amoafo said lack of proper notice, insufficient communication, the absence of plans for compensation and relocation of residents not only fails to meet domestic and international standards for eviction, but also threatens to endanger an already vulnerable population.
“We are, therefore, appealing to your good office that the scheduled eviction by your outfit as we have been told by the Co-coordinating Director at AMA, be either put on-hold or delayed until proper procedure allows for appropriate preparations to be made,” he stated in the petition.
He added that “we are campaigning for a world where human rights are enjoyed by all as contained in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international agreed human rights standards.”
The human rights advocate said the group undertakes evidence-based research and action focused on preventing and ending grave abuses of the rights to physical and mental integrity, freedom of conscience and expression, and freedom from discrimination, “within the context of our work to promote and protect all human rights.”
“We are hopeful that with this letter, you would halt the forced eviction and initiate consultative meetings with key stakeholders to find a more humane way of evicting the residents of the marked area for the planned development to take place in a more cordial environment,” he stated.
The group copied a number of ministries and individuals such as Mr Samuel Atta Akyea (MP), Minister of Works and Housing, Mr Andy Appiah-Kubi, Deputy Minister of Railways Development, the Chief Executive Officer, Ghana Railways Development Authority, the Co-ordinating Director, Accra Metropolitan Assembly, the Mayor of Accra Metropolitan Assembly, Assemblyman of Korle-Dudor Electoral Area, MP for Odododiodoo Constituency, the community leaders, Agbogbloshie Community and the President, Slum Union of Ghana.