Face the Public Publications

The Problems of Apartment Buildings in Gaza, and the Right to Adequate Housing Conditions. June 15, 2003

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15 June 2003

There are approximately two hundred high tower apartment buildings in Gaza City.
Tens of thousands of people live in these buildings.
Over time, and due to a lack of an effective monitoring system, the housing conditions in these towers have worsened.
In many cases they are a threat to people's lives.
After receiving numerous complaints, the Center decided to conduct this meeting in conjunction with the Governorate of Gaza.
As a follow-up, the Center contacted PLC members and identified the shortcomings of the law.
of participants 51
of women 10 out of 51
of women that spoke-up 3 out of 19 Key Speakers: Dr.
Muhammad Ameer, representing the Gaza Governorate.
General Muhammad Al Hindy, Director of the Police Forces in the Gaza Strip.
Nabeel Tarazi, Director General of the Urban Development in the Ministry of Housing.
Fuad Al Shurafa, Director of the Urban Planning Department in the Municipality of Gaza.
Summary of issues raised by the guest speakers: High apartment buildings are relatively new in Gaza.
Their construction started in mid 1990s; however, they constitute the future of urban development in the small area of the Gaza strip.
The Gaza Governorate has been attempting to deal with the problem.
However, more cooperation is required from the residents of these buildings.
Most of these buildings were built prior to the issuance of a special law (1/1996) in 1996.
Problems remain serious despite the law.
Officials admit the existence of the problems and the dangers on people's life and health, but they can only work according to the law, which implies long procedures to resolve problems.
The police would be prepared to take action only in case of a court decision.
Summary of answers given by the public: The participants criticized the existing law and considered its rules as not responding to the urgent needs.
They called for an amendment of the law.
As this law was issued the law after the construction of most of the buildings, the majority of the buildings do not comply with the standards of the law.
The problems people suffer in these buildings violate their rights to adequate housing, to health and to life.
Unless urgent solutions are found, these problems are expected to worsen.
The participants suggest that the PNA forms a specialized council encompassing all the official parties of specialty and residents, representatives to look into and resolve the problems.
The Ministry of Housing should reconsider the housing conditions that exist in the low-income-housing projects, established prior to the law.
Planned and undertaken follow-up of issues raised:
The Center contacted PLC members and identified the shortcomings of the law.
More work is required on an amendment to the law which should include a way to resolve the problems in a faster way.
The Legal Aid unit has contacted the Ministry of housing inquiring the housing conditions in the Ministry's projects.
The meeting was well covered by the media, including the TV.
Summary of evaluation forms of participants and speakers:
The overall evaluation of the meeting is very good.
Participants think that the theme is very important and called for further activities on this topic.
They commented on the management and timing positively.