Published by Nicole Phillips, Esq.
Two years after the earthquake, one-half million people still live in internal displacement camps in Haiti’s capitol. Conditions in the camps are getting worse. Humanitarian organizations have mostly stopped providing water and servicing portable toilets, leaving people to use plastic bags as toilets.
The government still has not adopted a comprehensive rehousing plan. As a result, twenty percent of displacement camps face eviction, many initiated by the government. In most cases, evicted families are thrown into the streets without legal due process or alternate housing. The government ignored recommendations by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights for a mortatorium on evictions and for victims to be placed in alternate housing.
With all the reconstruction money going into Haiti, providing durable housing and protecting camp residents from illegal and violent evictions must be a priority.
We commend the Haitian parliament for ratifying International Covenant of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) in January of this year. We encourage the government to quickly deposit ratification with the United Nations so that the treaty can take effect.
The UN Office of High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights emphasized Haiti’s international law obligations to prosecute former repressive dictator Jean Claude Duvalier. Despite a mountain of evidence, the judge dismissed all crimes against humanity – a decision that appears more politically than legally motivated. Appeals have been filed and we recommend that the Haitian government and international community assure that the judicial process be fair and transparent.
Lastly, senatorial and local elections that were required last November have not taken place. We recommend that a permanent electoral council be appointed in compliance with the constitution and that all measures be taken to assure that eligible political parties, including Haiti’s largest party Fanmi Lavalas, are not arbitrarily excluded. Flawed elections in 2010 and 2011 spawned much of Haiti’s current political crisis.
Contact info: Nicole Phillips, Nicole@ijdh.org, 001.510.715.2855
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