Marking two years since Haiti’s devastating earthquake which killed around 220,000 and left 1.5 million people homeless, 7,500 people will next week march through the centre of Port au Prince to demand access to land and adequate housing.
The Je nan Je (Eye to Eye) movement (made up of Haitian grass-roots organizations and funded by co-member ActionAid Haiti), will march to parliament on 11 January to press MPs and the government to reform land laws and enable land to be freed up to build homes for the 600,000 people still homeless.
The rebuilding of Haiti is being severely hindered by a complex set of land disputes and an acute lack of public land to rebuild. During the quake the land registry was destroyed, deeds were lost and inheritance disputes became widespread.
The huge number of people who are still without permanent or temporary houses is also due to the lack of collaboration between Haiti’s previous government and ordinary citizens, ActionAid says.
Jean-Claude Fignolé, Director of ActionAid Haiti, said: “Haiti’s reconstruction process has proved that fighting poverty and making progress are impossible when the people are excluded. Haitians and particularly those most affected by the earthquake should be empowered to play a role in their own development, and should lead on the planning, implementation and monitoring of all rebuilding activity.”
ActionAid believes that now the Interim Haiti Recovery Commission (IHRC) mandate has ended, it is the ideal moment for reform. The IHRC, which was set up immediately after the earthquake struck, was responsible for vetting and approving all recovery projects, though there was little evidence that any progress was made.
Mr Fignolé continued: “Haitian organisations, the government and the international community now have the perfect opportunity to come together and define the parameters for a structure that is inclusive, collaborative and most importantly accountable. It is critical for the new prime minister to recognize that the traditional donor- and expert-led reconstruction models have failed the Haitian people so far - and the solution is in a people-led model.”
Je nan Je (Eye to Eye) is being supported by ActionAid to press the government into more development accountability, transparency and good governance. Je nan Je represents 800,000 Haitians and includes local women’s networks, rural peasant movements and urban community development organizations who are calling to be equal partners in the reconstruction process. ends