PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, Tuesday Jun 11, 2013 – A senior United Nations official has expressed concern about ongoing illegal forced evictions and human rights abuses of families displaced by the 2010 earthquake.
The Office of the Humanitarian Coordinator for Haiti said that earlier this month, the United Nations was informed that 120 to 150 families displaced by the earthquake and residing in Camp Bristou B1 were victims of illegal forced eviction.
In a statement, it said a tractor was used to destroy tents starting leaving about 50 shelters after the demolition. Witnesses say the camp was located on private land, but the eviction was not orchestrated by the owner.
Acting Humanitarian Coordinator Sophie de Caen “has expressed concern over violations of the rights of internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Haiti and the non application of established formal camp closure procedures”.
She has brought the incident at Camp Bristou to the attention of Prime Minister Laurent Salvador Lamothe and also vowed UN support for an initiative calling on senior government officials to investigate the incident, spearheaded by Minister of Human Rights and the Fight against Extreme Poverty, Rose Anne Auguste.
The UN official has also renewed the humanitarian community’s call on the government of Haiti to prioritise the search for sustainable solutions for people living in the camps.
Since 2013, about 4,000 people have been forced out of four camps counting this latest incident, the UN reported. If the trend continues, an estimated 75,000 people settled in 105 other camps constructed on private lands face threats of forced eviction.
Haitian President Michel Martelly has condemned forced eviction and launched the 16/6 programme, a project that supports the return and resettlement of displaced persons living in camps, as well as the rehabilitation of the neighbourhoods affected by displacement.
The international community is providing support to Haitian authorities mandated to close IDP camps in a planned manner, by providing displaced persons with sustainable housing solutions.
The UN said that to date, a rental subsidy programme has provided assistance to more than 37,000 families to help them relocate. In addition, more than 23,000 families will receive assistance to return this year.