The Humanitarian Coordinator in Haiti "gravely concerned" at continuing forced evictions of IDPs

PRESS RELEASE

(Port-au-Prince, 10 June 2013) - On June 5, the United Nations was informed that 120 to 150 families displaced by the 2010 earthquake and residing in Camp Bristou B1 were victims of illegal forced eviction on 4 and 5 June. A tractor was used to destroy tents starting 04 June and continuing into the night. Only fifty tents or shelters remained after the demolition. Although the camp is located on private land, witnesses noted that the eviction was not orchestrated by the owner himself.

Ms. Sophie de Caen, the Humanitarian Coordinator ad interim, 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.

The incident in Bristou was the latest in the growing number of reported cases of forced evictions since the beginning of 2013. So far 1,028 families (about 3,500 people) have been forced out of four camps. The expulsions from Camp Bristou put this figure at 4,000 victims this year. With 74% of the remaining IDP camps located on private lands, an estimated 21,596 IDP families (about 75,000 people) living in 105 camps currently face threats of forced eviction.

The Government of Haiti has already publicly condemned illegal evictions, and reiterated the need for judicial investigations to be conducted when such incidents occur, as called for by the Minister for Human Rights and the Fight against Extreme Poverty on 11 March 2013.

The Humanitarian Coordinator has brought the incident at Camp Bristou to the attention of the Prime Minister, and promised UN support for the Minister of Human Rights’ initiative calling on senior government officials to investigate the incident at Camp Bistrou. Mrs. De Caen also renewed the humanitarian community’s call on the Government of Haiti to prioritize the search for sustainable solutions for people living in the camps.

Many efforts have already been undertaken and are ongoing to relocate the displaced in accordance with international standards. 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. To date, a rental subsidy program 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. This approach must be given the necessary support so that families still living in camps can find a sustainable and dignified solution.

The Humanitarian Coordinator ad interim renewed the support of the humanitarian community to the Government of Haiti in assisting those affected by the earthquake, and in its efforts to prevent illegal forced evictions.

  • END -

Contact:
George Ngwa Anuongong, chef communication section, ngwaanuongong@un.org, (509) 3702 5192
Widlyn Dornevil, public information officer, dornevil@un.org, (509) 3702 5182

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs:

To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit http://unocha.org/.