May 31, 2011
On the Chopping Block: Camp Evictions in Haiti — ActionAid

ActionAid, with an office in Haiti and in Washington, DC, reported on last week’s apparently government-authorized, unannounced destruction of three camps for Internally Displaced Persons in the Delmas area of Port-au-Prince

…Camp members were forcibly removed and even beaten…as police destroyed their tents and belongings. No compensation or transportation was offered. No strategic plan or next steps were presented. The worst news is that 3 more camps might be on the chopping block soon.

During President Michel Martellys’ pre-inaugural trip to the United States, he declared that one of his four main priorities was to help relocate people from IDP camps. The UN Camp Coordination and Camp Management Cluster has stated that the Martelly Government’s strategy on “Return and Relocation” for camp members will be piloted through 6 camps. These include the 3 camps that have just faced such devastating destruction and evictions and therefore casts serious concerns on the overall strategy.

In a recent news article, Delmas Mayor Wilson Jeudy, proudly defended these evictions, often portraying camp members as criminals who deserve no type of additional support to relocate…

In November, 2010, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights made the following recommendations  concerning camp evictions: “Implement effective security measures to safeguard the physical integrity of the inhabitants of the camps, guaranteeing especially the protection of women and children; train the security forces in the rights of displaced persons, especially their right not to be forcibly expelled from the camps; and ensure that international cooperation agencies have access to the camps.”

…All three of these camps, including the one near the national airport, were official camps that had Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) liaisons in 2011. Yet, none of these liaisons were present.  To make matters worse, the UN Camp Coordination and Camp Management Cluster in Haiti canceled its meeting this week. This does not bode well for high camp transparency or accountability.

For the full article see:

ActionAid, working in Haiti since 1996, is a 2010 and 2011 grantee of the Haiti Fund at the Boston Foundation.  With help from a $25,000 grant, ActionAid will establish a Land and Housing Rights Advocacy Network.  Grassroots leaders and civil society groups will be supported in securing their rights to a transparent and inclusive national housing strategy.