UN urges India to halt evictions in Haryana state

GENEVA, 17 July 2021, (TON): The UN human rights experts called on India to halt mass evictions that threaten to leave 100,000 people homeless in the northern state of Haryana.

Special rapporteurs of the UN Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner said in a statement “we appeal to the Indian government to respect its own laws and its own goal of eliminating homelessness by 2022 and to spare homes of 100,000 people who mostly come from minority and marginalized communities.”

They added “it is particularly important that residents be kept safe during the pandemic.”

The statement said demolition of homes began last Wednesday in a village in Haryana state built on protected forest land, even though the forest was actually destroyed decades ago by heavy mining.

A move like this would put 100,000 people, including 20,000 children, at risk of becoming homeless.

Residents have already been hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, and the eviction order would put them at greater risk and bring even more hardship to some 20,000 children – many of whom may remain out of school – and 5,000 pregnant or breastfeeding women.

The statement said the villagers live in Khori Gaon (village) in Faridabad on land that was designated as a protected forest in 1992, “despite there being no forests on it.”

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