The Egyptian government announced on June 19 that compensation would be provided for Nubians who had been displaced from their villages by the construction of the Aswan High Dam in the 1960s.

A Nubian elder who might be eligible for compensation
A Nubian elder who might be eligible for compensation (Photo by Barthwo on Pixabay, Creative Commons license)

According to the official government news release, Omar Marawan, the Minister of Parliamentary Affairs, announced at a press conference that beginning on June 25, Nubians who are eligible for compensation for the damages they may have suffered from the construction of the dam may start filing compensation requests.

The measure was agreed upon during a cabinet meeting devoted to the compensation issue. Nubians who think they are entitled to compensation will be allowed three weeks after June 25 to file their claims. Ten days after the close of the filing period, the names of those judged eligible for compensation will be announced at the headquarters of the Aswan Governorate in Aswan, on the website of the governorate, and “at the relevant diplomatic and consular premises.” The minister added that grievances regarding those claims for eligibility must be filed within 10 days after the announcement of the eligible names.

The announcement was made at a joint press conference with the Aswan governor, Ahmed Ibrahim. Al-Ahram, an Egyptian newspaper that is mostly owned by the government, reported the gist of his comments. He evidently said that the government intends to “take all necessary measures” in their efforts to provide compensation to the victims of the dam more than half a century ago.

Some Nubian houses along the River Nile near Aswan, traditional Nubian territory
Some Nubian houses along the River Nile near Aswan, traditional Nubian territory (Photo by Belmahdy in Wikimedia, Creative Commons license)

He added that a major ceremony will be held in September when the compensation payments will be distributed to eligible Nubians. The governor also said that a ministerial committee will monitor the process of handling the applications to ensure that it is going properly.

Another news source last Thursday indicated that the cabinet was acting under instructions from President al-Sisi. It said that about 11,000 people lost their homes due to the dam and appear to be eligible for compensation.

A substantial portion of the news and reviews published by this website over the past 15 years about the Nubians have been concerned in one way or another with their demands for justice from the government regarding their expulsion from their villages in Old Nubia. For instance, a news story in February 2018 reported that a committee charged by the president with working out a compensation strategy for the Nubians had indicated that “Nubian elders consider the president’s move to re-open the compensation issue ‘a positive step.’”