Sign on to this letter, calling for acknowledgment of and adherence to the rights guaranteed to the internally-displaced.
ActionAid Haiti, Bagay Dwol Haiti Relief Fund, Canada Haiti Action Network, Centre Medical Social Port au Prince, Konbit pou Ayiti (KONPAY), Haitian American Organization for Social & Economic Development (HAOSED), Health Empowering Humanity, Honor and Respect Foundation, Human Rights Accompaniment In Haiti, Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti, International Action Ties, Lambi Fund, Mennonite Central Committee U.S. Washington Office, Partners in Health (PIH), People’s Health Movement-USA, Quixote Center, Sustainable Organic Integrated Livelihoods (SOIL), TransAfrica Forum, UnityAyiti: Boston Solidarity with Haiti, World Service of Mercy, You. Me. We.
After the earthquake of January 12th, over 2 million survivors left the wreckage of their homes and sought refuge in camps constructed on any open land. The Haitian Government and private landowners have evicted thousands of residents from these encampments without a viable alternative for their relocation, and in some cases with no alternative at all.
The UN and Haitian Government agreed on April 22 to an immediate 3-week moratorium on forced evictions which expired, Thursday, May 13th. Within that period reports of evictions continued. Humanitarian aid, including food, water and sanitation facilities have been cut off in targeted camps (1, 2). In other locations, residents are being harassed and abused by the police. The people most affected by the earthquake, those who have lost their families, homes and livelihoods, now live in fear that they may be violently forced to leave their present settlements without viable options established for relocation (2).
These actions are prohibited under the UN’s Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement. The UN Principles, which are based upon international humanitarian law and human rightsinstruments, establish the framework for protecting the rights of displaced people, includingthe right to basic services (food, water, shelter, education, medical services, and sanitation)and to be protected from violence (4). When these rights are not upheld, UN agencies areobligated to call on relevant parties to respect them (5). Specifically, the OCHA CCCMCluster-designated Camp Coordinator is charged with developing an “exit/transition strategyfor camp closures while ensuring that responses are in line with … standards includingrelevant government, human rights, and legal obligations” (7, 8).
Petition Text: Click here to sign
As signers of this petition, we are urgently concerned about the treatment of Internally Displaced Persons who are being forcibly evicted and involuntarily relocated from camps in Haiti without habitable alternatives. We call on the Government of Haiti, the United Nations, especially the relevant security and human rights authorities and OCHA, to affirm the rights of IDPs and rapidly implement a policy upholding these rights.
We call for an immediate stop to forced evictions and the development of a human rights monitoring system to ensure that further violence and violations do not take place. A transparent process to relocate camp inhabitants that is rights-based and protects earthquake victims is essential for national recovery to occur in a manner that promotes dignity and is sensitive to the needs expressed by the communities.
Specifically, we call for those responsible, accountable and empowered to put into place:
1. An expansion of coverage and time extension for the moratorium on forced removals: Evictions and/or involuntary removals from all camp settlementsmust be officially suspended for an additional 90 days to allow alternative options tobe explored and agreed upon.
2. An independent monitoring system: The OCHA Protection Cluster, MINUSTAH Human Rights Section and all other stakeholders for human rights, including Haitian civil society, must immediately develop a collaborative system of independent monitors in locations where IDPs face removal from their communities, both voluntary and forced, to address complaints from displaced persons.
3. Genuine community consultation: Community representatives and civil society, especially women and the youth, must be included in all planning processes, promoting culturally-relevant solutions with respect and support for self-determination. No viable or just solutions to the complex issue of resettlement can be determined without dialogue between those most affected and those upon whom it is incumbent to protect the rights of the Internally Displaced Person.
Due to their influence and responsibility to aid the survivors of the earthquake, we call upon these individuals to take all appropriate measures to prevent another human tragedy in Haiti:
• President René Garcia Préval, Republic of Haiti
• Paul Antoine Bien-Aimé, Haitian Minister of the Interior and Collective Territories
• William J. Clinton, United Nations Special Envoy to Haiti
• Edmond Mulet, United Nations Secretary General’s Special Representative to Haiti and Head of Mission, MINUSTAH, Haiti
• Niels Scott, Head of Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), Haiti
• Michel Forst, United Nations Independent Expert on Human Rights in Haiti
• Walter Kälin, Representative of the Secretary-General on the Human Rights of Internally Displaced Persons (UNHCR)
• Nigel Fisher, United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator, Haiti
• Lizbeth Cúllity, Acting Chief, MINUSTAH Human Rights Section, Haiti
• Matt Huber, Senior Operations Officer, International Organization for Migration (IOM), Haiti
1. “Haiti’s Resurrection: Promoting Human Rights” Huffington Post. Mark Shuller, April 5, 2010.
2. Memorandum: IDP Forced Removal and Relocation Updates – International Action Ties. TransAfrica Forum.
April 12, 2010. http://www.transafricaforum.org/policy-overview/where-we-work/haiti-earthq-2010/forced-idpreloc-memo-412101.
3. Log of Camp Eviction activities, April 7-19, compiled by International Action Ties of the Haiti Response Coalition
4. OCHA Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement http://www.unhcr.org/43ce1cff2.html. While the Guiding Principles are non-binding, the 2005 UN World Summit unanimously approved the guidelines for the treatment of IDPs. These rights were codified through international human rights instruments that are binding on the Haitian Government, including the Convention on the Rights of the Child (guaranteeing children the right to adequate standard of living, housing, nutrition, and free education), the Convention of the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (recognizing the equal right to men and women to choose where they live and to participate in politics), and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (recognizing the right to an adequate standard of living, including security and housing). “Status of Ratifications of the Principal International Human Rights Treaties; as of 14 July 2006.” Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. Convention on the Rights of the
Child was ratified by Haiti in 1995 and is available at http://www1.umn.edu/humanrts/instree/k2crc.htm; the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women was ratified by Haiti in 1981 and is available at
http://www1.umn.edu/humanrts/instree/e1cedaw.htm; the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was entered in 1948 and is available at http://www.un.org/en/documents/udhr/. See also UN Commission on Human Rights Resolution 2004/28 reaffirming the practice of forced eviction constitutes a grave violation of human rights, and “strongly urges Governments to undertake immediately measures, at all levels, aimed at eliminating the practice of forced evictions.”
5. Terms of Reference for Camp Coordinator. One Response – Global Clusters – Camp Coordination and Management. Created 6/9/2009, modified by Patrick Gordon. http://oneresponse.info/GlobalClusters/
6. “Displaced Fear Expulsion from Makeshift Camps” IPS News. Ansel Herz, April 8, 2010 http://www.ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=50965