Left Menu
Development News Edition

India: UN expert raises alarm over mass evictions of Delhi railway track dwellers

An independent UN human rights expert has voiced concern over an Indian Supreme Court order to evict up to 250,000 people living in shacks along railway tracks in the capital, Delhi, warning that such a move could violate the country’s obligations under key international rights treaties.

UN News | Updated: 29-09-2020 10:51 IST | Created: 29-09-2020 10:01 IST
India: UN expert raises alarm over mass evictions of Delhi railway track dwellers
The agency expects India's economic activity to contract by 5 pc in FY21 from strict lockdown measures. Image Credit: ANI

Balakrishnan Rajagopal, UN Special Rapporteur on adequate housing, also said that none of those affected, appeared to have been consulted or heard by the Court beforehand and that the judges had initially ruled that no one should be allowed to seek to overturn the eviction order.

"This amounts to a full-fledged denial of justice for the low-income people living along the railway tracks", Mr Rajagopal said in a news release on Monday.

"If this is maintained, India will squarely violate article 2.3 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights containing the core human rights principle that everyone can seek judicial relief against any decision she or he considered arbitrary."

Serious rights violation

Mr Rajagopal also said that any eviction into homelessness would amount to a serious violation of human rights and of India's obligations under the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

The Supreme Court of India issued the eviction order at the end of August for around 48,000 households living near the tracks, giving occupants three months to leave, according to the news release.

The Court issued a second ruling to temporarily halt the eviction order, a move welcomed by the Special Rapporteur, who, however, added that the four weeks provided would be insufficient to develop any reasonable relocation plan, that would meet international legal standards, for such a large number of households.

Mr Rajagopal called on the Supreme Court to reconsider the case in light of India's international rights obligations, noting that the Court has a strong reputation of having previously delivered several landmark human rights decisions.

According to the UN rights office (OHCHR), the Special Rapporteur has contacted the Indian Government to clarify the issues in question and asked for his concerns to be shared with the Supreme Court.

Ban all evictions in light of COVID-19

To avoid community spread of the COVID-19 virus, Mr Rajagopal urged the Government to ban all evictions during the pandemic under the country's National Disaster Management Act or its Epidemics Act.

"While the relocation of some residents living in very close proximity to a railway track may be needed to protect them from potential railway accidents, any such eviction would only be compatible with international human rights law after a relocation plan is developed in consultation with the affected households and after alternative land or housing is made available to them in proximity to their current place of residence," said Mr Rajagopal.

Such relocation should however only be considered after the pandemic has been brought under control, as undertaking it now would expose those living in the railway safety zone to additional health risks.

The Special Rapporteurs and Independent Experts are part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. The experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary. They are independent of any government or organization and serve in their individual capacity.

Visit UN News for more.


TRENDING

OPINION / BLOG / INTERVIEW

Uganda COVID-19 response: Was off to a good start but reopening dwindled prospects

Uganda has shown success in using health information to enhance efficiency of disease surveillance, reporting and monitoring. The success, however, has critical challenges confronting it as the country resumes normal activities....

New farm bills in India: Focusing on farms or farmers?

... ...

Kenya’s COVID-19 response: Chaos amid lack of information

Confusing numbers and scanty information on how effective curfews and lockdowns have been in breaking transmission have amplified coordination and planning challenges in Kenyas response to COVID-19. Without accurate data, it is impossible t...

Farkhad Akhmedov: Calculating the price of impunity from the law

In insistences such as the battle over the Luna, Akhmedov has resorted to extreme legal machinations to subvert the High Courts decision and keep his assets from being seized. ...

Videos

Latest News

Floral tributes paid to Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel in Parliament on his 145th birth anniversary

Lok Sabha Secretary-General Snehlata Shrivastava and Secretary Utpal Kumar Singh on Saturday paid floral tributes at the portrait of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel in Central Hall of Parliament House on the occasion of his 145th birth anniversary...

105 new COVID-19 cases reported in Puducherry

One hundred and five new cases for the novel coronavirus have been reported on Saturday in Puducherry. According to the Government of Puducherry, while 147 people suffering from the virus have recovered and discharged, no fatalities due to ...

FEATURE-Can solar fridges helping vaccinate African children work for COVID-19? 

Dozens of children at a clinic in North Kivu, on the eastern border of the Democratic Republic of Congo DRC, received a measles vaccine in May, made possible by a quiet revolution in refrigeration that keeps vaccines cold, even in places w...

Sports News Roundup: Billionaire Steve Cohen's purchase of New York Mets gets approval; Galaxy part ways with head coach Schelotto and more

Following is a summary of current sports news briefs.Billionaire Steve Cohens purchase of New York Mets gets approval from MLB ownersMajor League Baseball MLB said on Friday that the owners of the Major League Clubs have voted in favor of t...

Give Feedback