Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti

Haitian Farmers File Complaint Against Land Grab During “Recovery” Efforts

A collective that represents hundreds of Haitian farmers filed a complaint with the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) regarding the land grabs that occurred during the 2010 earthquake recovery efforts. This complaint was filed on the 7th anniversary of the earthquake, as Haitians continue to face the consequences of the creation of the Caracol Industrial Park (CIP) after the quake. Initially, IDB and Caracol promised to provide replacement land to the farmers who were displaced by the CIP but ended up, instead, providing a small cash compensation package. Now, the farmers are struggling to survive food and financial insecurity, particularly with the CIP being placed on the most fertile land in the area. The collective is seeking accountability and a remedy for the suffering initiated by the IDB and CIP.

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On 7th anniversary of earthquake, Haitian farmers file land grab complaint highlighting harm caused by disaster “recovery” efforts

Accountability Counsel

January 12, 2017

Today, the Kolektif Peyizan Viktim Tè Chabè, a collective representing hundreds of Haitian farmers, filed a complaint to the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) about its role in a case of land grabbing. In 2011, approximately 3,500 people the lost their livelihoods when they were forced off their land to make way for the Caracol Industrial Park (CIP), a major business project funded by the Bank and other international donors, with post-earthquake disaster funds. The Bank funded the CIP from its earliest stages and will eventually provide more than US$242 million in support of its construction, operation and expansion. The Kolektif, supported by Accountability Counsel, ActionAid and local partners, is calling for fair compensation and for the IDB to address the many environmental and social problems linked to the industrial park.

The Kolektif filed the complaint on January 12, 2017, the seventh anniversary of the earthquake that devastated Haiti. The IDB and other international donors heralded the CIP as a key earthquake reconstruction project: it would provide jobs and economic benefits while encouraging population migration to the less affected north of the country. The project was fast-tracked, with the Bank claiming that the “urgency” of the situation required shortcuts.

These shortcuts came at the grave expense of local communities. In January 2011, almost a year to the day after the earthquake struck, at least 442 smallholder farmers and their families found that their plots of land – incredibly fertile land that had been cultivated by some families for generations – had been seized to make way for the CIP. Fences were hastily erected to prevent their access. Crops and buildings were destroyed. Some had only a few days warning that they were losing their land, while others had no warning at all. Almost overnight, these families, over 75% of whom lived below the poverty line, lost their primary source of food and income.

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