Monday, June 15, 2015

News: Egypt’s Nubians push for a return to their original homeland

CAIRO: A delegation of Nubian leaders voiced their concern over the government’s lateness to settle them on their original homeland on the two banks of Lake Nasser, south of Aswan.

Prominent Nubian leaders met in Aswan Saturday to discuss ways to push for issuing a legislation which secures their resettlement. They accused the cabinet of being reluctant to issue a law that regulates their settlement.

“We are putting on hold all our negations with the cabinet over our resettlement. We will oppose any draft law being issued without getting back to us,” Ahmed Azmy, head of the Nubian General Federation said Saturday.

Nubians were displaced from their original homeland when the High Dam project flooded their lands and villages in 1964. To the south of the dam, Lake Nasser was created and President Nasser built them new houses to the north of the Aswan Dam.

The Nubians, one of the most ancient ethnic groups on earth, have complained they have not been properly compensated since then given that the new locations were far from the Nile in desert regions and lacked any sources of livelihood.

Egypt’s constitution, passed in January 2014, states that the country ensures the development and implementation of a plan for economic and urban development of borders and disadvantaged regions including Upper Egypt, Sinai, Matrouh and the areas of Nubia.

According to the constitution, “The inhabitants of these regions participate in these projects and are prioritized in the ensuing advantages. The cultural and environmental patterns of the local community shall be taken into account.”

On June 2, Minister of Transitional Justice Ibrahim el-Heneidy announced in a press conference that a unified draft law on the resettlement of Nubians is being prepared per a cabinet request.

The ministry assigned a committee to prepare a draft law on the issue, Heneidy said, adding that 1,150 Nubians, interviewed by the committee, expressed their wish to return back to their homeland.

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