Launch of Report: ‘Unjust Compensation: Assessment of Damage and Loss of Private Property during the Anti-Christian Violence in
Centre for Sustainable Use of Social and Natural Resources (CSNR), Bhubaneswar and Housing and Land Rights Network (HLRN), Delhi, launched a report: Unjust Compensation: Assessment of Damage and Loss of Private Property during the Anti-Christian Violence in Kandhamal, India using the HLRN ‘Eviction Impact Assessment Tool’ today, 7 June 2013, at Red Cross Bhawan, Bhubaneswar.
The report was released by Mr Miloon Kothari, former UN Special Rapporteur on adequate housing. The panel also consisted of Mr Dhirendra Panda, Secretary, CSNR, Ms Shivani Chaudhry, Associate Director, HLRN, Mr Prafulla Samantaray and Father Nicholas Barla, human rights activists.
The report presents an analysis of a detailed impact assessment to determine the real extent of loss suffered (in addition to damage of housing and human lives), as a result of the violence in Kandhamal in 2007 and 2008.
The report notes that though the Government of Odisha provided immediate relief, compensation for ‘damaged houses’ and death, it did not enumerate and provide compensation for the loss of property (other than housing) such as household articles, vital documents (like educational certificates, land records), agricultural equipment, utensils, clothes, agricultural and forest produce, livestock, poultry, and livelihood-related losses. The government does not have a policy to assess and compensate such losses.
Given the lack of adequate compensation and rehabilitation for the victim-survivors, CSNR and HLRN undertook a study with the following objectives:
1. To enumerate the value of property lost during the Kandhamal00 violence and estimate the replacement value;
2. To determine livelihood-related losses incurred as a direct result of the violence; and,
3. To use the findings of the assessment to demand adequate compensation for the victim-survivors and to advocate for changes in the state and national resettlement policy.
The study is based on the ‘eviction impact assessment’ (EvIA) tool prepared by HLRN, which uses the human rights framework to assess the real costs and losses incurred as a result of displacement.
The findings of the impact assessment study in Kandhamal reveal that the real costs and losses suffered by individuals and families who experienced destruction of their homes and property are immense. While extensive damage to property, both movable and immovable, has been reported, the state has only compensated families for loss of homes.
On the basis of the findings of this study, the report proposes the following recommendations to the Government of Odisha:
• Accept the value of losses computed by the impact assessment described in this report and compensate victim-survivors adequately for the loss of property and livelihood.
• Ensure full reparations to those persons whose livelihoods were affected due to violence and strife.
• Take immediate measures to adequately rehabilitate and resettle the victim-survivors of the Kandhamal violence.
• Provide adequate financial assistance to those children whose education was affected because of destruction of books and educational material, unavailability of study material, loss of academic certificates, and inability to attend school during and after the violence.
• Provide financial assistance to victim-survivors whose documents of land and property were destroyed and facilitate the process to obtain alternative documents.
• Develop a new policy for victim-survivors of violence due to conflict, such as in the case of Kandhamal, and implement it immediately.
• Prepare a long-term strategy to protect and promote secularism and non-casteism in Odisha.
• Carry out human rights-based holistic impact assessments, which take into account both material and non-material costs and losses incurred in the short-term as well as in the long-term, after any natural or human-induced disaster in order to determine adequate rehabilitation and compensation.