Last update:
2021-03-17

Forced eviction for expansion of Douala Airport, Cameroon

In January 2021 more than 100 families were forcibly evicted for expansion of Douala Airport. Houses were bulldozed and protesters teargassed. Authorities claimed no responibility for resettling people and many were left homeless sleeping in the open.


Description:

At 5am on 9th January 2021 a clearance operation to evict people from the New Town Airport District began. The community is near Douala Airport, Cameroon’s busiest airport located on the outskirts of the port city. Authorities said that the operation was to ‘ensure the rights of way’ for Douala Airport. A group of young people protested demolition of their homes and a mosque; Police charged at them and dispersed them with teargas. The violence was followed by arrests and authorities warned that the clearance operation would continue in the following days.

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Forced eviction for expansion of Douala Airport, Cameroon
Country:Cameroon
State or province:Littoral Region
Location of conflict:Wouri division
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Infrastructure and Built Environment
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Land acquisition conflicts
Ports and airport projects
Specific commodities:Land
Project Details and Actors
Project details

In 2009 the Agency for the Safety of Air Navigation in Africa and Madagascar (ASECNA) embarked on a project to enforce security at a number of international airports in the Central and West Africa sub-regions. Douala Airport was one of the listed airports. The main feature of the ASECNA project for Douala Airport was creation of a security zone around the airport [7]. On 5th February 2018 the Airline Operators Committee (AOC) sent a letter to the General Manager of Aéroports du Cameroun (ADC), the public company in charge of Cameroonian airports, complaining about the dilapidated state of Douala Airport.

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Type of populationUrban
Affected Population:Approx 100 families / 500 people
Start of the conflict:25/01/2010
Relevant government actors:Wouri division of Littoral Province
Douala City Council
Cameroon Civil Aviation Authority (CCAA)
Aéroports du Cameroun (ADC)
Agency for the Safety of Air Navigation in Africa and Madagascar (ASECNA)
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:HIC (Habitat International Coalition) - https://www.hic-net.org/
National Observatory for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ONDESC) - https://www.ondesc.org/
CODAS Caritas Douala Projet AQP - PROJET DE PROMOTION ET DE PROTECTION DU DROIT AU LOGEMENT DÉCENT PAR L’APPUI À L’AMÉLIORATION DES QUARTIERS POPULAIRES DOUALA - https://www.projet-aqp.com/
National Network of Inhabitants of Cameroon
Platform for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityHIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
Reaction stageIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups mobilizing:International ejos
Local ejos
Neighbours/citizens/communities
Social movements
Forms of mobilization:Land occupation
Street protest/marches
Impacts
Environmental ImpactsPotential: Air pollution, Global warming, Noise pollution, Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation
Health ImpactsVisible: Mental problems including stress, depression and suicide
Potential: Accidents, Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…), Other Health impacts, Violence related health impacts (homicides, rape, etc..)
Other Health impactsThere were concerns that there might be an underground kerosene leak within the affected area[8]
Expansion of Douala Airport would increase risk of illnesses caused by pollutants emitted by aircraft
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Displacement, Loss of livelihood, Militarization and increased police presence, Specific impacts on women, Violations of human rights, Land dispossession, Increase in violence and crime
Potential: Social problems (alcoholism, prostitution, etc..), Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures
Outcome
Project StatusProposed (exploration phase)
Conflict outcome / response:Compensation
Migration/displacement
Violent targeting of activists
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain:The forced eviction of over 100 families for expansion of Douala Airport failed to comply with international recognized human rights, including to adequate housing, food, water, health, education, work and security. Police charged at people protesting eviction and fired teargas. People whose homes were demolished were not resettled and were left sleeping in the open. Over a month after the eviction several families had nowhere to relocate. Long before the forced eviction of January 2021, in 2010, people were evicted from an area claimed by Douala Airport as a security zone. While 191 people described as ‘squatters’ were compensated about 260 others were not eligible for compensation. In 2012 several families homes near the airport were demolished; again the authorities cited safety concerns, over a possible underground kerosene leak.
Sources & Materials

[1] Cameroon: Douala residents lose homes to demolition, africanews, 10/01/2021
[click to view]

[3] Forced evictions in Douala, HIC (Habitat International Coalition), 15/01/2021
[click to view]

[7] ‘New Town Aeroport’ To Be Demolished, Cameroon Postonline, 25/01/2021
[click to view]

[8] Douala: New-town Aéroport. Une trentaine de famille sans abri, CAMEROON VOICE, 13/11/2012
[click to view]

[11] Six consultants shortlisted for strategic environmental and social assessment of Cameroon’s transport sector, Business in Cameroon, 05/02/2021
[click to view]

[5] Cameroon: Houses demolished in Douala ahead of CHAN, Journal du Cameroon, 14/01/2021
[click to view]

[9] Cameroon: 400 hectares of the domain of the Douala International Airport occupied by private, Teles-Relay, 24/06/2018
[click to view]

[10] Douala Airport to increase yearly traffic capacity to 2.5 mln passengers, Business in Cameroon, 28/05/2020
[click to view]

[2] Douala: Gov’t says no plan to resettle nearly 500 people rendered homeless by demolition exercise, Mimi Metro Info, 11/01/2021
[click to view]

[4] Cameroun - Douala: Plus de 200 familles déguerpies près de l’aéroport, Cameroon-info.Net, 12/01/2021
[click to view]

[6] Alert around a situation of forced eviction in the Newtown Airport district in Douala, Cameroon, HIC (Habitat International Coalition), 15/02/2021
[click to view]

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

Forced eviction of residents of New Town Airport District. Cameroon: Douala residents lose homes to demolition, africanews, 10/01/2021
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:Rose Bridger, Stay Grounded network, email : [email protected]
Last update17/03/2021
Comments
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