Stories Compiled by IJDH and the BAI
What do threats of forced eviction look like before an eviction?
Camp CR 5
Jireau, a middle-aged man living in a rented apartment on Delmas 60 with his wife and three young daughters, lost his home and his small business in the earthquake. He, along with 44 families from his neighborhood who were also rendered homeless, moved to a vacant plot of land adjacent to a private residence, later named Camp CR 5. After receiving violent threats of eviction by armed thugs, Jireau worked tirelessly to find his community an alternative site to resettle on. Finding no agency that could assist them in relocating, Jireau found another landowner to grant Jireau’s community authority to resettle on his land. However, the land is nearly uninhabitable, as sits on a steep slope. Unfortunately, it was the best Jireau could secure on his own. Jireau then again sought out help from NGOs and the IOM to ensure access to services at the new location. While the agencies delayed in providing any assistance to the community based on groundless fears of a land dispute at a new site, Jireau faced further threats to leave CR 5 – this time the threats were against his three young daughters. Despite the increasing insecurity at CR 5, it took many months before IOM merely gave the community tarps and some tools to build shelter on their new land. Given the condition of the new land they are to move to and that fact that no agency is ready to provide them services there, it is clear that their situation will not improve.
Before the earthquake, Natacha, a 28-year-old law student, lived in a rented house with her parents, two sisters, and a brother. She lost both her parents and the house during the earthquake, and she and her siblings were forced to split up. After sleeping at Champs de Mars for a while, she moved to Camp AEI off of Delmas 33, where more than 650 homeless families have also set up camp. One area of Camp AEI is claimed to be owned by a church. In October, the pastor of the church began making threats to remove all of the displaced persons from his land. Believing that this violated their rights as displaced persons, a young man by the name of Edzer began to organize his community to explain to them that the pastor cannot just kick them out; the state must provide them with an alternative place to live. Angry at Edzer’s attempt to organize camp residents, the pastor brought a false action against Edzer, but thanks to the assistance of lawyers from the Bureau des Avocats Internationaux arguing on Mr. Edzer’s behalf, the judge dismissed the case. Despite this harassment, Edzer and other grassroots organizers from the camp continue to educate their fellow residents on their rights as displaced persons. The pastor has continued to find ways to get residents to leave, however, namely by stopping any NGOs from building a temporary school and mobile clinic on the land. Without a school, many children have been missing out on an education; and without an accessible clinic, the rapid spread of cholera in Port-au-Prince is a great concern to the camp residents.
Individuals from the camps described can be contacted through IJDH attorney, Jeena Shah (+509 3610 2781 or firstname.lastname@example.org).