June 1, 2011
Mayor of Delmas Sued Over Tent Camp Evictions — Bureau des Avocats Internationaux

Announced in a press relase today, Wednes­day, June 1, 2011, the Bureau des Avo­cats Inter­na­tionaux (BAI) filed a com­plaint with Haiti’s National Pros­e­cu­tor against Del­mas Mayor Wil­son Jeudy for illegally evicting approximately 1,000 homeless people from three camps on public property in his community last week.  About 300 grassroots activists organized by Bri Kouri Nouvel Gaye delivered the petition with BAI at the Ministry of Justice. 

 BAI’s com­plaint on behalf of indi­vid­ual vic­tims of the evic­tions charges Mayor Jeudy with vio­la­tions of the rights to life and hous­ing pro­tected by Haiti’s Con­sti­tu­tion and crimes against the per­son and prop­erty, artic­u­lated in the Hait­ian Penal Code.  “As a pub­lic offi­cial, Mayor Jeudy is not above the law,” said BAI Man­ag­ing Attor­ney Mario Joseph. “Hait­ian law only per­mits him to enter pri­vate domi­ciles, regard­less of where they are located, with a judi­cial man­date or a Munic­i­pal Decree pub­lished in advance, nei­ther of which the Mayor had to jus­tify his acts.”…

“Mayor Jeudy is ignor­ing his duties as a State agent,” said BAI attor­ney Jeena Shah. “Since Haiti is a party to the Amer­i­can Con­ven­tion on Human Rights and a host of other human rights treaties, Mayor Jeudy has a duty to not only pro­tect dis­placed per­sons from forced evic­tions, but also facil­i­tate their reset­tle­ment into decent housing…”

The Inter-American Com­mis­sion on Human Rights issued direc­tives to the Hait­ian gov­ern­ment to impose a mora­to­rium on evic­tions and pro­tect dis­placed com­mu­ni­ties from the vio­lence often asso­ci­ated with forced evic­tions.  How­ever, due in large part to gov­ern­ment inac­tion, the Inter­na­tional Orga­ni­za­tion on Migra­tion esti­mated that 166,000 peo­ple were still fac­ing immi­nent threats of evic­tion as of April…

The Bureau des Avo­cats Inter­na­tionaux (BAI) is the only pub­lic inter­est law firm in Haiti. Founded in 1995, it is accompanied by Boston-based Insti­tute for Jus­tice & Democ­racy in Haiti (IJDH).   Last month IJDH received a grant of $25,000 from the Haiti Fund at the Boston Foundation to work with BAI to use lit­i­ga­tion, advo­cacy, doc­u­men­ta­tion and grass­roots empow­er­ment to advance the rule of law and secure human rights for Haiti’s poor major­ity — especially the rights to housing, to freedom from violence and illegal detention, and to fair political participation.   It was my great privilege to meet life-long human rights defender Mario Joseph and pro-bono attorney Jenna Shah in Haiti in April; as well as Brian Concannon and Andrea Jamison of IJDH in Boston.  

To learn more about the work of IJDH and BAI visit http://haitijustice.org and fol­low them @IJDH.  For more about grants from The Haiti Fund see:  http://www.bostonfoundation.org/Content.aspx?ID=15210.