Camp Evictions Spark Concern

Haiti Response Coalition Calls for Moratorium on Evictions (Apr. 17)
Currently, forced removals of IDPs from Camp Sipot in Delmas 31, Camp Refugee in Caradeux Delmas 75, and the Camp Sylvio Cator Stadium have occurred, as have threats of removal in Camp Methodiste de Freres in Delmas 95, Camp San Louis Gonzague in Delmas 31/33, and Champ de Mars which continue to be reported by numerous sources. The escalating situation has been previously reported to the relevant authorities.

The March 24, 2010 OCHA Haiti-Earthquake Situational Report #31 stated that, “the protection cluster is receiving an increasing number of reports detailing tensions between displaced persons located on private land and landowners. Some cases have resulted in forceful evictions from the land.” What was not specified was what action was or would be taken to protect IDP rights. Through eyewitness accounts and numerous interviews conducted during community meetings, findings show the dignity of the community members has not been honored, many have had their security compromised, and liberties have been breached. There have been documented reports of violence against the IDPs, loss of property, and near complete blockage of participation and community determination in the process that led to their expulsion.

The self-formed community committees in many of the camps are reporting a significant lack of information available regarding the status of their camps. As a result, numerous community members have stated that they live in fear, day to day, not knowing what will become of their family and their home. If the responsibilities of the Camp Coordinator were properly assumed, carried out, and properly monitored and regulated within the UN OCHA system, then the responsibilities involved with the forced expulsions lie within this decision making body, which should be held accountable. As medical teams leave and food distribution stops, militaries, governments, OCHA, and aid organizations may have moved past the emergency stages of the disaster, but interviews conducted from camp to camp, committee to committee, and shelter to shelter, have shown with consistency that adequate measures have not been taken to guarantee to those to be displaced full information on the reasons and procedures for their displacement. It has been reported that the free and informed consent of those to be displaced has not been sought as the authorities concerned have been instructed to do by Principle 14.3(c). To summarize our immediate calls for action: • Moratorium on forced removals: We request that the governments, OCHA, NGOs, all those whose mandates and activities relate to the needs of the internally displaced in Haiti, and all those with interest in the protection of international recognized human rights organize and apply the appropriate pressures necessary to suspend the forced removal of the Haitian IDPs from their camp communities until a time when alternative options are presented and agreed upon.

This pressure needs to come from the highest offices of the decision making bodies in support of the IDP’s stated intentions. We request these agents make the decisions to defend the rights of the Haitian IDPs, and to do so before the next IDP camp community is forcefully evacuated against their will. • Independent monitoring system: We request the immediate development of a collaborative system for the dispatch of independent monitors to the locations where IDPs of Haiti are facing removal from their communities, both voluntary and forced. Given the level of efforts and resources expended in order to create and maintain the various means of responding to this disaster, the development of a means of monitoring that integrates into the already functional OCHA regulated and supported systems should be able to occur immediately and with the upmost efficiency. • Community consultation: The only way to determine a viable and just solution to the complex issues of relocation is to let those relocating determine the most appropriate course of action in conjuction with the Haitian state, the UN mechanisms designated to protect their rights and the NGOs that have taken on the responsibility for assisting with satisfying their basic needs during this extremely difficult period in Haitian history. Please forward this message to other concerned parties. Sincerely, Mark Snyder, Eric Brandfass, Monica Dyer International Action Ties