26 May 2011 — Trans Africa
Members of the Haitian National Police accompanied by agents of Mayor Wilson Jeudy of Delmas have been destroying camps in the Delmas neighborhood of Haiti’s capital. On Monday, May 23rd, they arrived after many people had left the camp to look for work and immediately began to destroy tents with batons. People were injured by swinging batons, and later at least one individual was wounded when the police fired shots to disperse the newly homeless who gathered at the scene to protest their forced eviction.
This is just the latest example of how life is becoming increasingly untenable for the victims of Haiti’s earthquake. A recent report from the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) estimated that at least 50% of Haiti’s internally displaced people (IDPs) are under threat of forced eviction. After 17 months living under torn tarps and tents, families are now being forcibly evicted from the public and private property where they have been living for more than a year. President Michel Martelly has a pilot program to relocate six camps, at least three during his first 100 days in office. If the eviction at Kafou Ayopò is any indicator, these evictions will be done without due process, without community consultation, without any known plan for relocation and with violence.
President Martelly promised to resolve the problem of IDPs on both public and private land, but after running his campaign for change many did not believe he would continue with illegal forced evictions. Neither President Martelly nor his representatives were at the scene of the violent destruction in Delmas. Also missing from the scene were representatives of the United Nations’ Camp Coordination and Camp Management (CCCM) cluster. Ironically, those who are supposed to protect Haiti’s IDPs have done nothing but recognize how dire their situation is. And despite being responsible for management of the camps, the CCCM’s leadership from the Organization for International Migration (OIM) canceled this week’s cluster meeting. Evictions and relocation did not even appear as main issues for the CCCM this week.
The Mayor Jeudy of Delmas announced he would continue to evict IDPs in the Delmas area. Will President Martelly stand aside while these violent evictions take place?
Make your voice heard by calling or emailing the Embassy of Haiti in Washington, DC (202-332-4090 or email: email@example.com) and letting them know that you want them to take immediate action to protect Haiti’s most vulnerable families before hurricane season begins.
Ask the Government of Haiti to:
1. Immediately halt the forced eviction of IDPs without due process or relocation plans.
2. Consult with the communities in order to create realistic relocation plans. Payoffs of $500 will only lead families to move from one precarious situation to living conditions that may be even more dangerous.
3. Put in place immediate measures to protect vulnerable children and their families during the upcoming hurricane season.