Friday, March 21, 2008

a novel way to evict thousands

Just suspend the law. That's what the government of Chad did earlier this month. The edict of extraordinary powers meant that authorities in N'djamena, the country's capital, had no obligation to honor due process or any other rights.

The result: 1,000 families in poor neighborhoods around the city were evicted, and their homes destroyed.

"Under the presidential decree, public discussion of the evictions was banned and many key public defenders fled the country out of concern for their safely," the UN's Integrated Regional Information Networks news service reports. IRIN quotes N'djamena Mayor Mahamat Zène Bada as asserting that they now can build "schools and colleges, medical centres, libraries, sporting facilities, markets and bus stations."

Yeah, right.

With admirable restraint, IRIN points out that "it will be difficult start any projects as there are very few construction companies in the country due to the current insecurity, and there is questionable value of building libraries in a country where the majority of the population is unschooled and illiterate."