“The people united will never be defeated!” was heard in several languages as the approval of the Declaration of the World Assembly of Inhabitants was welcomed, cementing the convergence of struggles of the inhabitants of towns and rural areas for systemic changes, which are essential to overcome the global crisis. This is a call to sign!
More than 600 participants across 35 countries from all continents, with their languages, histories and cultures, facilitated in Tunis three exciting days of discussions, debates, knowledge sharing and tools, reinforcing the pillars of global solidarity with local struggles.
Michel Martelly, Haiti’s president, says that under his two-year leadership, the country is attracting foreign investment and seeing job growth, but more than 40 percent of Haitians are without work, and labour activists say the number is much higher.
“If people find jobs they are just temporary jobs, or jobs that are not paying well, they are not decent, they are not sustainable,” Yanick Etienne, a Haitian labour activist, told Al Jazeera.
Meanwhile 300,000 Haitians are still living in tent camps. Thousands of families have left, but often as a result of being forcibly evicted from public and private properties, and most have nowhere else to go.
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — Attorney Reynold Georges showed up with a judge and a police officer on a recent afternoon at Camp Acra, a cluster of tents and plywood shelters scattered across rocky hills dotted with trees in the heart of the Haitian capital.
The lawyer told the camp of some 30,000 people that they were squatting on his land and had to leave, witnesses said. If they didn’t vacate, he said he’d have the place burned down and leveled by bulldozers. Camp leader Elie Joseph Jean-Louis said other angry residents, who had lost their homes in a catastrophic 2010 earthquake, fought back by lobbing rocks at Georges and the people he had come with.
Today grassroots groups including The Force for Reflection and Action on Housing (FRAKKA), Defenders of the Oppressed (DOP), Heads Together for Change (TEKOCH) and Chanje M Leson organized a march with hundreds of people from displacement camps across Port-au-Prince. Protestors called for their right to housing to be respected and denounced the brutal police murder of Civil Mètis, who lived in Camp Acra Adoken.
Download DOP’s report detailing the Camp Acra Adoken incident HERE.
While it is a positive step for the Martelly administration to acknowledge forced evictions publicly for the first time, the claims made in the government’s press release contradicts information gathered by our grassroots allies, testimonies of camp residents’ themselves, and Amnesty International. You can read the full press release from the Prime Minister’s office below.
A closer look at the government’s claims….
1) “We believe that people’s human rights are being protected and guaranteed by the very process of transitioning them to safer dwellings.”
25% of Haitians living in displacement camps are at risk for forced evictions.
“More than three years after a devastating earthquake hit Haiti, tens of thousands of people are facing a new crisis. Amnesty International says already displaced residents are being forced from the capital’s tent cities. The Rights Group says the evictions are a violation of human rights and that the government is doing little to stop them. Caroline Malone reports.”
“Appeals from Amnesty International and other NGOs to halt the forced evictions have fallen on deaf ears – not only has the Haitian government not put an end to them, but it has allowed them to increase since the beginning of this year,” said Javier Zúñiga, Special Advisor at Amnesty International.
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — Haiti has violated international human rights obligations by failing to protect people who have been forced to leave the impromptu settlements that sprang up in the Caribbean nation after the 2010 earthquake, a global advocacy group said Tuesday.
A report by Amnesty International said it found that thousands of displaced people have been evicted from public spaces and private properties. People kicked out of settlements find themselves “further marginalized and driven deeper into poverty,” it said.
The government of President Michel Martelly has condoned the evictions led by mayors, police officers and others, the report charged.
Amnesty International’s latest report on the right to housing movement in Haiti, is focused on the human rights violations occurring in displacement camps. Amnesty International is appealing for government involvement to end forced evictions, ensure equal access to public services, and promote the active participation of people living in informal settlements and slums in decisions and processes that impact their lives.
“To make the right to adequate housing a reality for all, the government of Haiti must put human rights at the heart of the reconstruction effort and its national policy on housing.”