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IRAQ: Calls to delay evicting squatters from government property

“It is the government’s right to evict these people but in our opinion the government should take into consideration the plight of squatters and offer them alternatives, for example, land or good financial aid,” said Abdul-Khaliq Zankana, head of parliament’s Displacement and Migration Committee.

“The law must prevail, but I do believe the best way to deal with this issue is to postpone the implementation until the middle of the year as it is winter now and we can’t turf those people out onto the street. This will affect the attendance of their children at schools,” Zankana told IRIN on 11 January.

The ministries of finance, and displacement and migration, should work out appropriate compensation for these people based on the number of family members and their economic situation, he said, adding: “we shouldn’t create more problems when solving a problem.”

In the aftermath of the US-led invasion in 2003, hundreds of homeless people scrambled to find somewhere to live. Many moved into government-owned property - especially buildings damaged in attacks by US-led coalition forces and vacated by officials of Saddam’s regime.

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