Thursday, January 24, 2008

35 years and still no rights

The squatter community of Arnett Drive has been in the Reservoir Hills area of Durban for 35 years. Yet the municipality has launched a sudden and horrible eviction drive. It's an ugly reality of the new South Africa -- majority rule making life worse for the majority.

Update: A January 25 article from The Mercury (sadly hidden behind a subscription firewall on the web) reports that Abahlali baseMjondolo, the courageous Durban squatter organizing group, won a temporary injunction barring the municipality from engaging in more demolitions in this Reservoir Hills community. The interim ruling allows for a one-month reprieve. The matter will be back in court on the 21st of February.


Anonymous said...

Have enjoyed your blog. And thought you might be interested in this, if you haven't already seen it - couldn't find an email to fwd it along, so dropping it in below.

You can, of course, delete it later.


-------- Original Message --------

I am sending you a small video from the self organised refugee camp in Patra that was taken yesterday, when the police was in the camp.

rn said...


Thanks. Is the video of somewhere in Afghanistan? Do you know more details about it? Did the police destroy the encampment? How big is it? Where are the refugees from? Tell us more, please. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Patra is in Greece. I don't know much of the details, aside from migrants - I assume undocumented - had erected something of a squat there. The police moved in with bulldozers. I'll look around for some more details, though likely most or all of it will be in Greek.

rn said...

Here's a link about the Roma in Greece, which was awarded the Centre on Housing Rights and Eviction's Housing Violator award in 2006:

Anonymous said...

This from a petition [quoting]:


On the south east side of Europe, at Patras, the first European port to the west, hundrents of young men, some as young as 10 year old have only one wish: they dream of a sea passage taking them over to western Europe. These young men are fleeing their homeland, Afghanistan, a homeland that for the last 28 years is at war. They are trying to escape the war , poverty and authoritarian political regimes. They are looking for better living conditions. After weeks and months of risky journeys they reach Patras. For the last 12 years the refugees that keep coming have faced all at the same time institutional violence, ndifference and some times merely tolerance of their existence. The port police have been violent but refugees could "live" at a self made, almost like paper shelter facilitites up until they could find a way to go west. The present conditions of the self made "almost like paper' camp are horrible: there are no sanitary facilities, lack of drinking water and no provision of garbage collection. People are hungry and terrified.

In the last week though the refugees have faced a coordinated effort from the police, the central and the local government to move them away from the port. Demolition of their self made shelter facilities has started

The police have given them few days to gather their things. This coming Wednesday the demolition will be completed. People are telling us that they prefer to die than to live under the regime of terror and insecurity. Children have disappeared from the shelter while their relatives from Afghanistan are looking at them frantically. Activists and local people have been trying to help anyway they can but with no available infrastructure this has been extremely hard.

What happens in Patras is part of the same paradoxical situation that has been arisen all over European Union: while the rich countries of European Union become more and more cooperative and move closer to each other, the practical possibility of getting there becomes more and more limited for a large section of the population coming from the third countries. The European Union instead of reacting to increasing emigration efforts with a coherent policy to reflect a belief that each country of the world has control over its resources to take care the needs of its people, the European states are meeting the challenge, above all, by strengthening their borders. Greece has also been affected by the increasing 'harmonization' in European refugee and migration policies, which are shifting 'fencing-in' measures and repression to the centre of attention. Whereas the Greek government has recently shown itself determined to keep refugees/immigrants without papers away from its ports (Patras and Igoymenitsa) that are gates to the west, by all possible means. Police, demolitions, detentions, arrests and abductions can not keep the people wanting to leave their war and poverty torn countries.

We demand humane living conditions for all the refugees and immigrants. We demand freedom of movement of all people. Freedom of movement of all people encompasses different struggles of migration taking place every day throughout Europe : struggles for housing and legalization, struggles against racism and camps, struggles on the workplace, the struggles of women for liberation.

Anonymous said...

Some pics

Anonymous said...

oops. here