FRAKKA denounces the armed arson of the Acra 2 camp in Juvenat as well as CARICOM’s congratulations to the government for moving people out of the tents, which Prime Minister Lamothe deceptively relayed to the press.
Saturday, February 16th, 2013, near midnight, heavily armed men killed Anèl Egziyis, a young man living in a tent, and set fire to the Acra 2 camp in Juvenat, near the Karibe Hotel. Sunday, February 17th, in full daylight, the men returned to set fire to whatever tents and victims’ possessions had not been burned the night before. The criminal blaze consumed a five-year-old child, nearly four thousand tents, and all the possessions of four thousand families. Dilia Marie, mother of five, says she just barely rescued her one-month-old baby, Cadet Ismaella, from the flames of Martelly’s bandits.
After the blaze had burned out within the Acra 2 camp, more than four thousand families had nowhere to go. They are now sleeping on the streets and on the porches of others’ houses, where they are harassed and left empty-handed.
People say they saw a police car arrive in the area during the operation, but after the armed men threw some bottles, the car disappeared. This kind of behavior seems to prove that the police were complicit in this act of arson. We remember this same kind of complicity on December 21st, 2011, when a group of bandits accompanied by the police entered Place Jérémie and beat the inhabitants, destroyed their possessions, and forced them out of the area. On January 11th, 2012, while President Martelly was receiving a Canadian official, he declared, “We scored four goals.” The camp at Place Jérémie was one of them. Justice should have brought public action against the criminal acts that these men committed against the inhabitants of the tents, but the President had officially sanctioned one of those acts. However, Article 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights clearly states that the State is responsible for protecting the lives of all people who are victims of any natural disaster and must give those people every form of necessary assistance.
We want to remind everyone, the arson committed by these legal bandits took place a day before the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) summit, which was held at the Karibe Hotel on Monday, February 18th, and Tuesday, February 19th, 2013. Thursday, February 21st, five days after armed thugs had set fire to the Acra 2 camp, everyone heard and saw Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe declare to the press that the CARICOM delegation congratulated the government for moving people out of the tents. Of course the Prime Minister did not mention the child consumed in the fire or the nearly four thousand families who lost everything they owned. Such actions are in the vein of Duvalier’s Tonton Macoutes, who would routinely round up the poor and kill them whenever a foreign delegation would visit the country. Following Prime Minister Lamothe’s declaration, it’s clear that these bandits set fire to the camp in order to prevent the members of CARICOM from seeing how people are living in conditions unfit for animals just a few meters away from the lavish paradise of the Karibe Hotel.
For us members of FRAKKA, an act of arson that kills a child, burns four thousand tents and the possessions of nearly four thousand families is a Fascist practice, a crime against humanity that deserves to be denounced and condemned.
As such, FRAKKA demands that:
- The government commissary bring public action against all the criminals involved in burning the Acra 2 camp in Juvenat, arrest those responsible, bring them to trial, condemn them, and compensate the victims;
- The Martelly/Lamothe government and all those reclaiming land that the victims of January 12th occupy stop all forms of forced eviction;
- All human rights organizations support the victims of Acra 2 in their pursuit of justice and reparation
- All those living under tents stand up to halt the advance of this criminal machine and force the government to provide quality housing in accordance with Article 22 of the Constitution.
Revolting to defend our rights is every citizen’s duty.
SANON Reyneld, Executive Secretary
Jean Gardy Souverain, Secondary Treasurer
Fòs Refleksyon ak Aksyon sou Koze Kay
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Many thanks to Nathan Wendte for translating