Egypt slams UN special rapporteur's ‘unprofessional’ statement on housing policy
In a Thursday statement, the ministry said Egypt invited the U.N. official to visit the country from Sept. 24-Oct. 3 to get acquainted with the challenges the government is facing to provide appropriate housing to citizens.
“However, since the beginning of her visit, the U.N. official started to fabricate stories and make up lies during her talks and meetings with the state officials,” the statement read.
The statement added that the doubts turned to be true when the Farha contacted Qatari-owned channel, which is known for its blatant support of terrorist organizations. This also showed clearly, according to the statement, that the U.N. expert has “other motives” and that she is taking human rights and fundamental freedoms as a “cover,” especially as she deliberately ignored talking about any positive side in the country's housing policies.
She also failed to provide any evidence supporting her claims and turned a blind eye to the government's unprecedented accomplishments in providing appropriate housing units to citizens, the statement continued.
In her statement, Farha did not talk about the government's plan to set up 600,000 social housing units, of which 300,000 were already set up at a record time to meet the needs of limited-income people, the statement said.
Also, Farha did not mention any of the developments or measures taken by the government to develop this sector, including the development of 46 unsafe slums inside and outside Cairo, the statement added.
The ministry also demanded the U.N. Human Rights Council to take firm measures towards any official who tries to Exploit his/her position, as Farha’s statement “lacked credibility” in a blatant fashion.
Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry also condemned the Farha’s threat that “special rapporteurs will not pay further visits to Egypt unless it takes serious steps in the housing domain’,” saying the Egyptian government will not neglect this matter and will take measures to guarantee that this special rapporteur is blamed for her “unprofessional and irresponsible behavior.”
‘Special rapporteurs should be independent human rights experts, honest and professional,” The statement read.
Last October, the ministry issued a statement saying Shoukry welcomed Farha in Egypt, and considered her visit to Cairo as step towards establishing further cooperation between the Egyptian government and the United Nations Human Rights Council, with which Cairo is extremely keen to develop relations.
On Dec. 2, the Ministry of Housing announced it succeeded in developing around 80 percent of Egypt’s unsafe informal areas, declaring that Egypt will be a slum-free country by the end of 2019.
CAIRO - 2 December 2018: After decades of hardships experienced by Egypt's slum-dwellers, Ministry of Housing has succeeded in developing around 80 percent of Egypt's unsafe informal areas, declaring that Egypt will be a slum-free country by the end of 2019.
Khaled Siddiq, executive director of the Development Fund for Slums, said Egypt will be declared a slum-free country by the end of 2019, adding that around LE 14 billion have been allocated thus far for developing 80 percent of the slums.
In May 2016, President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi promised to move all those living in slums to new apartments over the span of three years as part of an ambitious project expected to cost about LE 14 billion ($790 million).
In the same context, the Tahya Misr (Long Live Egypt) Fund, launched by Sisi in 2014, has been working on a three-phase strategy to eliminate Egypt’s shantytowns and re-house slum residents, including those living in Doweiqa, Establ Antar and Ezbet Khair Allah.
The project includes 15,000 housing units to re-house 60,000 slum residents. The first two phases of Tahya Misr are comprised of 12,000 flats. The third phase opened in 2017 and is comprised of 20,000 flats.
Tal Al Aqareb area in Sayeda Zeinab
The residents of Tal Al Aqareb were evacuated in 2016, after several unsafe buildings had been demolished and were transferred temporarily to a new housing area until the development of Tal Al Aqareb is completed.
Khalil Shaath, head of Cairo governorate's informal-area-upgrading unit, said that in coordination with the Ministry of Housing, Utilities and Urban Development, 815 housing units, which would house 3,500 people, have been built at Tal Al Aqareb, along with 324 shops.
He added that 85 percent of the project was implemented.
CAIRO - 17 September 2018: Egyptian government has spent LE 20 billion to develop unsafe areas and provide decent housing for the residents of these areas, Hany Younis, spokesperson for the ministry of housing.
Al Mahrousa 1 and 2 projects
Shaath also said the government has completed the construction of 90 percent of al-Mahrousa 1 and 2 projects, which include 4,900 housing units. Al-Mahrousa 1 is comprised of 3,175 units, while al-Mahrousa 2 boasts 1,594 units.
Al Asmarat 3 project
At the beginning of 2017, the third district of the housing project in al-Asmarat, Moqattam, was built, comprising 7,440 housing units. The project is constructed by the Tahya Misr Fund, in collaboration with the Armed Forces Engineering Authority.
Together to develop slums in Al Salam 2 project
The project includes 3,312 housing units, which are built in collaboration between the Slum Development Fund and Together to develop slums.
Maspero Triangle project
Major General Mohammed Ayman Abdel Tawab, deputy governor of Cairo, said the government has been demolishing houses and shops in the Maspero Triangle in attempts to redevelop and modernize the three streets of the Bulaq Abul Ela district.
CAIRO - 14 August 2018: The Maspero Triangle Development project is progressing so well, and about 75% of the area has been already demolished, Khalil Shaath, head of the development of slums department in Cairo governorate, said on Monday.
MENA contributed in reporting