Congressman Donald Payne
Tenth District – New Jersey
For Immediate Release
August 1, 2011Contact: Ifeoma Ike
Rep. Payne to Haiti: “Continued Evictions Must Cease”
Washington, D.C.—On Monday, August 01, 2011, Rep. Donald M. Payne (NJ) released the following statement:
“I am appalled to hear of the continued forced evictions of displaced people in Haiti. It is even more disappointing to see that this is being led by leaders in local government who should be working to alleviate the hardships of those already suffering. I strongly condemn the actions of Mayor Jean-Yves Jason for forcefully evicting displaced Haitians from an Internally Displaced Person (IDP) Camp in the parking lot of the Sylvio Cator Soccer Stadium on Friday, July 15. On the spot, the 514 families were unfairly made to choose between leaving the camp for a small sum of $250 USD or be forced out of the camps. This is clearly a “lose-lose” situation since neither option results in much needed sanctuary for the families.
I recently received word that Mayor Wilson Jeudy is continuing his aggressive campaign to illegally evict IDPs, now threatening those living at Camp Django in Delmas. Offering the Haitian people $125 USD to leave the camps, protesters of this insulting offer were beaten, and community organizers who attempted to take pictures reportedly had their equipment snatched and pictures erased by MINUSTAH troops. Words cannot fully describe how disappointing it is to hear of such vicious attacks towards the people of Haiti. Members of Congress have previously condemned Mayor Jeudy’s forceful evictions and we will continue to do so until such actions come to a halt.
Last Thursday, I held an “Emergency Haiti Cholera Summit” on Capitol Hill—a roundtable discussion with US agencies, NGOs and medical experts about more advanced communication strategies to tackle the deadly cholera epidemic. I was encouraged by the dialogue, openness and will of all attendees to work more efficiently and collectively to address this major health crisis. Combating this disease, however, will continue to be stifled when women, children, men and the elderly continue to be abused and displaced, in violation of Haitian and international law.
My message is simple: all parties on the ground in Haiti—from local level officials to the Martelly Administration—must work in the best interest of the displaced persons of Haiti. The United States government did not invest dollars, resources, and manpower to have the people of Haiti mistreated by their own government. The road ahead is a long one, but forceful evictions are not “quick-fixes” to recovery; it only exacerbates an already devastating predicament.”