Monday, July 8, 2019

Nubian Day 2019 : A New State plan to compensate Nubian Egyptians

On Saturday 7 July 2019, Egyptian Nubians celebrated the World Nubian Day along other Nubians across the World.

That day comes in a very interesting and critical time as for the first time since adopting the 2014 Constitution, the Egyptian government started its plan to compensate the Egyptian Nubians for the forced displacement they had to surface due to the construction of Aswan’s low and high dam last.

A Nubian Egyptian and his village as depicted by Egypt's famous painter Hussein Bicar during the construction of the High Dam in 1960s
A Nubian Egyptian and his village as depicted by Egypt's famous painter
Hussein Bicar during the construction of the High Dam in 1960s
On Thursday 4 July, a long statement issued by a-government-assigned-committee detailed that compensation plan.
The implementation of that plan has already started on 25 June 2019 and it would continue its work for three weeks only receiving requests of compensations from the eligible citizens.

According to Ahram Online’s report about the plan, there are three categories of citizens eligible for compensation : 
  1. Nubian Egyptians who lost their homes during the construction of the Aswan Low Dam and built new homes without permits on state-owned land in the governorate of Aswan will now be granted legal ownership rights or usufruct right over these lands.
  2. Nubian Egyptians who lost their farmlands during the building of Aswan High Dam could choose between commensurate tillable lands in other areas or cash compensation worth LE 25,000 per acre.
  3. Nubian Egyptians who lost their homes during the building of the High Dam. They will be offered a choice between new houses in or outside the governorate of Aswan or a cash compensation of LE 225,000 per unit.
The government would receive the requests of compensation for three weeks from 25 June 2019 till mid-July. It will determine whether the citizens are eligible to compensation 10 days later following the admission of the request.

The citizens can appeal before another legal committee within 10 days if their requests are rejected.
The first round of compensation will be in Mid September.

Egyptian Media’s Youm 7 published a report on 27 June with the names of some of the citizens eligible to compensation after 4 hours of the launch of that plan.
Youm 7 published the names of 11,716 citizens eligible for compensation.

This committee formed on the directives of the Egyptian President included representatives from the justice ministry and other state bodies aka national security services..etc.
Now as this recent development comes I would remind of two things.
  • Article No. 236 of the 2014 Constitution which recognizes the rights of the Nubian Egyptians to return back to their original areas as follows :
The state works on developing and implementing projects to bring back the residents of Nubia to their original areas and develop them within 10 years in the manner organized by law.
  • Presidential decrees No.355 and No.444 that designated masses from the old Nubian villages that Nubian Egyptians want to return to both the army and the New Toshka development project.
Those decrees were met by rejection and protests from the Nubian Egyptian community.
Famous Nubian Egyptian writer Haggag Adol who participated in drafting the 2014 Constitution has not commented about this compensation plan.
Back to the the news archives that no one paid attention to , I found that the Egyptian General Survey Authority announced on 26 June 2019 “On the same day of the compensation plan launch” that it finished surveying and counting highly fertilized agricultural land to be given to the Nubian Egyptians as compensation if I understand correctly. 

On the other hand, 12 Egyptian human rights organizations issued a joint statement demanding the Egyptian authorities to respect article no.236 of the Constitution aka the right to return.
The human rights organizations added that the compensations were not replacing the right to return to the old villages.

Thanks to the statement, the location agricultural land which the Nubian Egyptians will get as compensation are known.
They are located in Al-Amal valley “ 12,000 acres allocated for Nubian citizens” and Khor Kandy “6,000 acres”.
Khor Kandy is one of the original areas the Nubian Egyptian community demand to return too.
Originally it was part of that Million and half Million agricultural land Megaproject but after protests by the Nubian Egyptian community, President El-Sisi declared it was excluded from the project in January 2017.

I am not a Nubian Egyptian but I feel that despite the compensation is a good step but it is not enough, we must follow the constitution and rebuild those old villages to preserve unique Egypt’s diversity before anything else.

It is important to hear the other voice instead of praises and thanks as usual in the media.
I knew about the joint statement of those human rights organizations by accident.

Thanks to the AFCON 2019 and its ongoing drama, this very important news is overshadowed.
Now Egypt is out of the tournament, I hope people pay attention to the news that really matters.

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