the Force for Reflection and Action on Housing (FRAKKA)
November 5, 2012
The following is a declaration from the Force for Reflection and Action on Housing (FRAKKA) about recent, violent evictions of displacement camps in and around Port-au-Prince. Founded after the earthquake, FRAKKA is a coalition that advocates for secure and dignifying housing for all, and for an end to unlawful forced evictions. The statement was originally issued in Kreyol; this is an English translation, first posted to the website of the Under Tents housing rights campaign.
Legal bandits break, burn tents and sexually assault woman in Camp Lamèfrape
On Wednesday, October 3, 2012, 11am, Cabaret Police Inspector Paul Joachin led a police caravan, including several civil police officers with guns, to camp Lanmèfrape located on Highway #1 in Titanyen. On arrival, the police burned 192 tents, destroyed 40 other tents that people had begun to build, and burned the office of the committee that manages the camp. They beat people, arrested Daniel Lamartinière and Carl Marie Prudent, burned 3 motorcycles and smashed several cars.
On Friday Oct 5, the police pursued a woman, apprehended her and turned her over to a group of criminals. Soon after, several gunmen sexually assaulted this woman. [The woman’s name is being withheld for privacy].
The caravan of legal bandits were in a police vehicle 1-89, UDMO cars, and several other cars without plates.
There are about 4088 families living Camp Lamèfrape. It is on a plot of government land that former president René Préval declared for public use in a March 2010 legal decree. In April 2012, the police along with a group of bandits damaged and set fire to people’s tents. According to information provided by victims, there are several big landowners paying police and othre perpetrators to carry out these criminal acts. They say that the Martelly-Lamothe administration’s power is the police and bandits’ power, so nothing will happen to them for their actions. The bandits have threatened to massacre the camp residents to take the land on which Camp Lamèfrape sits.
Bandits burn the tent of a member Camp Committee AVIK (Association of Canape Vert Victims)
On Saturday October 13, qround 1 am, perpetrators set fire to a tent of a camp committee member in Camp AVIK, located at the intersection of Cheriyès Road and Maten Litèkin Avenue in the area of Moren Bridge. Camp residents mobilized to put out the fire and only one tent was burned. The assailants sporadically fired guns to frighten people. Since that day, they have come every night to fire guns in the area.
According to people living in Camp AVIK, this fire was caused by arson, as bandits had spread gasoline around the camp. Victims say they still receive threats from people who are working for the government and from Jimèl Charles, who says he is the owner of the land on which the camp is located.
About 85 families live in Camp AVIK. On Saturday August 25, the camp stepped forward to ask the government to come to their aid due to hurricane Isaac damage in the camp. The Martelly-Lamothe Government arrested and imprisoned 9 of them. Police abused prisoners with batons, kicking and walking on them with boots while the prisoners were lying face down inside a truck, saying to the prisoners, “Have you not heard that President Martelly does not want demonstrations?” It was only after a mobilization by FRAKKA and Kolektif k ap Defann Dwa Lojman (Collective to Defend Housing Rights) in solidarity with our partners, that authorities liberated the Camp AVIK prisoners. Since the big blow of this illegal arrest, people in Camp AVIK have received many threats. It is in this context, that on Saturday 13 October qound 1 am that bandits attempted to burn down the camp.
We of FRAKKA, once again, denounce all forms of threats, intimidation and criminal acts by police, government workers and people that purport to be landowners against people that are living beneath tents.
In this sense, we request:
* The government and all people that say they are owners of the land occupied by victims of January 12, halt all forms of forced eviction against people that are living under tents
* Judicial action be taken against the police and criminals that carried out the tent burning and destroying in Camp Lanmèfrape on October 3.
* The criminals that attempted to set fire to the camp AVIK be found, arrested, judged and convicted.
People living under tents: solidarity is our strength.
Work together on security brigades to defend ourselves.
For more on the Under Tents housing rights campaign, including endorsing the campaign, signing an international peition and providing fincnail support, go to: http://undertentshaiti.com