Haiti: UN “Concerned” Over Forced Evictions of Displaced Persons

By: Caribbean Journal Staff - March 12, 2013

Above: residents at a camp for internally displaced persons in Haiti (UN Photo/Igor Rugwiza)

By the Caribbean Journal staff

The United Nations says it is “concerned” about recent incidents of forced evictions of residents of camps for internally displaced persons in Haiti.

Ross Mountain, the acting UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Haiti, said that, while he recognized the right of owners to enjoy their property, the practice of forced eviction often leads to violations of human rights.

“These families have suffered intimidation, physical violence and the destruction of their shelters, including through arson,” Mountain said in a release after making a visit to the Acra 2 camp last month.

While Haiti has significantly reduced the number of persons still living in tent camps due to the 2010 earthquake, the pace has been slow, with some 350,000 people still remaining in around 450 camps.

The UN said figures cited by the “humanitarian community” showing that over 66,000 people in 150 camps have been forcefully evicted since July 2010, with 73,000 more facing eviction threats this year.

“Haitian authorities have the responsibility to promote and protect the rights of all their citizens, including IDPs,” Mountain said.

Haiti President Michel Martelly has condemned the practice of forced eviction, the UN said, launching the 16/6 Programme. which seeks to return and resettle displaced persons.

Mountain, who is the acting Deputy Special Representative for the MINUSTAH peacekeeping mission, recently met with Rose Anne Auguste, Haiti’s Minister for Human Rights and the Fight Against Extreme Poverty, who said a judicial inquiry into forced evictions was “ongoing,” with efforts made to increase security in those camps deemed to be at the most risk.

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