The Independent Human Rights Investigators have commended President George Weah for his initial step and prompt involvement over the Fendell demolition exercise which led to several homes being damaged as well as the displacement of thousands of people.
The group said while they welcomed the Liberian leader’s intervention they believed that his stance is not good enough until the agreements between the government and people of Fendell highlighted in the Liberia Land Authority report are fully implemented in time.
Addressing a news conference on Tuesday, September 14, 2021, the founder of the group Adama Dempster called on the government to ensure that National laws governing evictions must be in compliance with human rights norms, including the principle of respect for human dignity and the general principles of reasonableness, proportionality, and due process, and should equally apply to those living in homeless encampments.
According to him, The people of Fendell have suffered too long, there is no better time than now to resettle them in one peace.
Some Demolished Fendell Homes
He said the right to adequate housing [is] a basic human right as such people should be protected by law against unfair eviction from their homes including land.
It can be recalled following the forced eviction leading to the demolition and destruction of several properties (Homes and businesses) belonging to an estimated population of 11, 471 residents of Fendell since 2016, by the government of Liberia University of Liberia – UL), victims and survivors are yet to received resettlement benefit and reparations.
As a result of the forceful eviction over 2,107 family heads with an estimated population of 11, 471 were left homeless, destitute, deprived of their possessions within a matter of hours, when bulldozers and demolition squads started to destroy the settlements without notice of warning, compensation, resettlement or legal redress.
Victims Of Fendell Demolition Exercise Battle With Police Officers During The Demolition Process
The demolition and destruction further created untold suffering and set back on the social and economic livelihood of women, children, and the elderly, thereby affecting schools, health facilities, businesses, and places of worship in the communities.
According to the United Nations Commission on human rights, forceful evictions constitute gross violations of a range of internationally recognized human rights, including the human rights to adequate housing, food, water, health, education, work, security of the person, freedom from cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, and freedom of movement. Forced evictions share many consequences similar to those resulting from arbitrary displacement, including population transfer, mass expulsions, mass exodus, ethnic cleansing, and other practices involving the coerced and involuntary displacement of people from their lands and communities, true evidence of the situation with Fendell victims who continue to suffer.
Following his interaction and agreement with the citizens (victims), President Weah constituted a special committee name and styled Fendell Mediation Committee.
The mediation committee report concluded and presented on August 2, 2019, highlighted the total damaged cause at $ 16, 610. 783.96.00, United States Dollars, affecting the estimated population of 11,471,000 citizens by the demolition.
The amount mentioned in the initial report begins a matter of concern given the government’s current financial standing, thereby mandating the Liberia Land Authority (LLA) to review the recommendations, advise the government on the suitable action plan to remedy grievances face by the residents.
Among other things, the committee recommended that the government is unable to make such compensation of ($ 16, 610, 783.96.00 USD) based on its current financial position, rather they are willing to pay the negotiated amount of ($8,000,000,00USD) but in two installments starting most like with an initial payment of 50% upfront to the affected residents of Fendell; That the area bordered GREEN, containing 607.995 acres, be set aside by the government for resettlement of residents of the five demolished villages.
Others are; The five villages at the time of the demolition consisted of 2, 107 family heads; and that said new settlement be given a deed in the name of the new city to be built;
Moreover, That the 5,800 acres deed be canceled, nullified and a new deed is issued to the University of Liberia for the remaining land area.
Adama said looking at the crucial nature of the situation reminded and encouraged President Weah to live up to the recommendations put forth by the committee for the betterment of the victims.