Plans to develop a new city around Lake Nasser in the south of Egypt were put in motion on Wednesday after the minister of transitional justice ordered the formation of a committee to draft a law overseeing the project.
The draft law will lead to the development of Nubian areas and the shores of Lake Nasser near Aswan in Upper Egypt. The region is historically linked with Nubians, who were displaced from their homes in 1964 to make room for the Aswan High Dam and its resulting artificial lake, Lake Nasser.
In the 50 years since then, Nubians have called for their right to return to their land, along with other demands including compensation and for their culture and identity to be recognised and acknowledged nationwide.
The new committee formed on Wednesday will be headed by Ibrahim El-Heneidy, minister of transitional justice, and will include the head of one of the largest Nubian tribes, Thomas wa Affia, along with public figures and lawyers from the Nubian community.
Also included are representatives from the defence ministry, Aswan governorate and the state's human rights body.
Members of the Nubian community will offer suggestions to the committee and will also be given priority in development projects.
The Nubian people were included in a transitional article in Egypt's constitution – passed in January of this year – that mandates the government to implement economic and development plans for "border and underprivileged areas".
Legislative powers remain in the hands of President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi until a new parliament is sworn in.