Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti

PRESS RELEASE-The humanitarian community concerned about growing incidents of forced evictions

United Nations     Nations Unies
Office of the Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Haiti
PRESS RELEASE

The humanitarian community concerned about growing incidents of forced evictions

Port-au-Prince, 08 March 2013. The United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator (HC) a.i. in Haiti, Mr. Ross Mountain, has expressed the grave concern of the humanitarian community in country regarding the recent incidents of forced evictions of internally displaced persons (IDPs) from camps in Port-au-Prince.

On 2 March, Mr. Mountain visited the Acra 2 IDP camp in Port-au-Prince to assess issues surrounding camps at risk of forced eviction.

This visit followed evictions of about 1,000 displaced families in camps Acra 1 and 2 (Petion-ville) and Gaston Margron (Carrefour) in metropolitan Port-au-Prince on 17 February 2013. Following the camp visit, HC Mountain met with the Minister of Human Rights and the Fight against Extreme Poverty, Mrs. Rose Anne Auguste to discuss the issue of forced evictions in IDP camps.

The Minister stated that a judicial inquiry was ongoing and security presence was being strengthened around camps at risk. She pointed out that President Martelly had on several occasions condemned forced evictions and that the Government-designed 16/6 programme for camp closure remains the way forward. The 16/6 project supports the return and resettlement of displaced persons living in camps, as well as the rehabilitation of the neighborhoods affected by displacement.

Mr. Mountain emphasized the shared views of the UN and the Haitian government on forced evictions, and stressed that “these families have suffered intimidation, physical violence and the destruction of their shelters, including through arson”. While recognizing the right of owners to enjoy their property, Mountain recalled that, the practice of forced eviction often results in violations of human rights such as the right to life and security of the individual.

Crimes were committed during the recent forced evictions which constitute a violation of these basic human rights. Haitian authorities have the responsibility to promote and protect the rights of all their citizens, including IDPs. Mountain stressed that relocation and resettlement of IDPs needed to take account of procedural safeguards foreseen in international and national laws such as due notice, informed consent and compensatory measures.

Today, a little less than 350,000 displaced people live in 450 camps, most of them unable to find a return solution and without access to appropriate services. The humanitarian community estimates that more than 66,000 internally displaced persons (in 150 camps) have been victims of forced evictions since July 2010. More than 73,000 people living in 87 camps (20 per cent of the total displaced population) are facing threats of eviction in 2013. A forced eviction is the permanent or temporary removal against their will of individuals, families or communities from the homes or land they occupy, without the provision of access to appropriate forms of legal or other protection.

For further information, please contact:
George Ngwa Anuongong, Chief, Communications section, ngwaanuongong@un.org, Tel. (509) 3702 5192
Guillaume Schneiter, Reporting Officer, schneiterg@un.org, Tel. (509) 3702 5758
Rachelle Elien, Public Information Officer, elien@un.org, Tel. (509) 3702 5177

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