The humanitarian community in Haiti concerned about the increasing number of evictions in camps
Statement attributable to the Humanitarian Coordinator in Haiti
Port-au-Prince/09 September 2011: The humanitarian community in Haiti expresses its concern following the recent evictions of individuals from camp sites, which were established after the 12 January 2010 earthquake. These evictions, some of which included the use of force, violate the right to adequate housing.
Since the earthquake, 67,162 people have been affected by evictions. Over the past year, the number of camps under threat increased by 400 per cent, from 87 in July 2010 to 348 camps in July 2011.
The humanitarian community in Haiti reiterates its opposition to forced evictions, which only exacerbate existing vulnerabilities of camp populations. It recalls that eviction of displaced person without adequate housing alternatives is a violation of their rights, as outlined in the Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement.
The Guiding Principles emphasize that this is the State’s responsibility to protect the rights of individuals within their territory and to ensure the establishment of safe and dignified conditions for sustainable returns.
In this regard, the humanitarian community welcomes President Michel Martelly’s statement in which he reiterated his administration's opposition to forced evictions and proposed an integrated approach to the implementation of sustainable solutions. The humanitarian community also takes note of his request that municipalities exercise patience and refrain from counterproductive actions.
The humanitarian community is committed to providing all necessary support to the Haitian authorities to ensure that camp closures are conducted in a manner which safeguards the rights of those affected. It also stresses the need to adequately plan camp closures so that they are predictable and done in consultation with the affected populations, within the broader framework that aims to improve access to adequate housing, while also recognizing property owner’s legitimate rights.
In support of this process, the humanitarian community proposes to set up a platform that links relevant ministries, local authorities, the Haitian National Police, the private sector and the humanitarian community. The proposed structure would allow for effective planning for progressive camp closures, while identifying alternative housing solutions in both urban and rural settings.
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