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.
“They are tolerated by the state and carried out in total impunity by state agents and private individuals or groups (non-state actors) alike,” it said.
Amnesty said it wrote to Martelly, the prime minister and mayors of two cities that have seen evictions in an effort to arrange meetings with them, but the requests were declined or went unanswered.
Haitian Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe told The Associated Press Monday night that there were “some” landowners who were responsible for forced evictions but it was not something the government endorsed.
“We don’t believe in forced evictions,” Lamothe said by telephone. “There are some private owners that do it, but the government itself does not condone that.”
Lamothe cited a government-led effort that pays rental subsidies to camp residents. He said it has “relocated over 1.2 million people and has respected their lives and in a peaceful matter. Our policy is respecting their lives and relocating them in a peaceful manner.”
The post-quake encampments became symbolic of the widespread devastation caused by the January 2010 earthquake, which toppled thousands of buildings and killed more than 300,000 people. The number of people still living in camps has become a barometer of the success or failure of how to house Haitians, though it’s unclear what happens to most people after they leave the formal camps.
Amnesty said its study documents a pattern of forced evictions of families left homeless by the quake.
This has involved mass removals without notice, it said. Amnesty said forced evictions violate the rights of displaced people at all stages: threats prior to an eviction, violence during eviction and homelessness afterward.
More than 20,000 families, about a fifth of those still living in makeshift camps, face forced eviction by private landowners or the authorities, the study said.
“Homelessness is the most immediate consequence of forced eviction,” it said. “For those living in Haiti’s makeshift camps and already coping with displacement, it signals the start of yet another phase of uncertainty, disruption and distress.”
Like Lamothe, Martelly has said he opposes evictions but they’ve continued anyway. Residents of settlements and housing advocates have accused city officials and police officers of violently dismantling the tarp-like structures and evicting people.
Amnesty last week called for an investigation into the alleged police beating of a Haitian man who was protesting an arson attack in a camp under the threat of eviction.
The International Organization of Migration reported last week that 6 percent of the estimated 27,230 Haitians who have left camps this year came as the result of evictions. It didn’t give a reason for the evictions, but some landlords and city officials have kicked people off public and private property to reclaim the land.
That group’s report said 320,050 people remain in the settlements. This marks a 79 percent drop since the number of people living in the tent camps peaked at 1.5 million.
Also On Black America Web:
This Week’s Celebrity Instagrams (10/7-10/14)
25 photos Launch gallery
1. Nite | to the tune of @cnn 😞
1 of 25
2. Got so much work to do but I just wanna stay in bed and binge watch #Gameofthrones and start the new season of #OnceUponATime. I know I can't be the only one. Right? Ha 💤🦁🍂 #saturday
2 of 25
3. Mommy's weekend turn up ❤️👶🏾💕🍼 Wouldn't trade it for nothing. #TeamNoSleep lol #HesMyBiggestBlessing ✨
3 of 25
4. One of them oh shit mont we made it feelings … this shit still be unreal 💯💪🏾 @remyboymonty1738
4 of 25
5. Tickets Available October 14 @ticketmaster.
5 of 25
6. People magazine Home edition has raided my house! Get a sneak peek into the bedroom life of the Leakes and see other parts of my home now at PEOPLE.COM
6 of 25
7. They want to kick you when you down, but kick it when you up
7 of 25
8. Got my advance copy of #Mafia3 at @gamestop. Get yours via link in the bio #Mafia3 #Ad
8 of 25
9. This is some of the cast and our diverse team of writers in the writer's room creating funny sh*t for @nbcmarlon what a fun room! Lots of jokes, great stories and having a great time doing what we love... making people laugh and feel something. Look out for our show next year @nbcmarlon we bringing sitcoms back to NBC
9 of 25
10. #HappySunday☀️Thank you @4everbrandy101 💛💡💛
10 of 25
11. Happy to be back in Central Falls, RI breaking ground for the One Stop Health Center and hosting a local community event with #Vaseline.
11 of 25
12. Thank you all in advance 💋💋💋 #Repost @urbansvintage・・・#TarajiPHenson's memoir #AroundTheWayGirl will be available everywhere TODAY October 11th! Will you be purchasing a copy? #UrbansVintage
12 of 25
13. Moms got my back
13 of 25
14. @galore dinner party glo ✨ thanks to @styledbygiigii
14 of 25
15. 🌹#ThisIsWhatTheTruthFeelsLikeTOUR #forevereve
15 of 25
16. Yes, all those videos I've been posting have led to this: the introduction of skincare to @TYRABeauty! This is the rundown on the new line:Years of research and beauty tips I live by led me to produce the most effective and delightful skincare out there. I'm all about taking really good care of my skin, so I can look like I'm aging in #TyraYears and go filter free on Instagram when I feel like it! Now, it's your turn. ✨My Mama always told me not to wash my face with just my hands. "Tyra, girl, you're just moving the dirt around!" And I've listened. First up is The Clean Machine.... ...a 3-in-1 foaming face wash that cleanses, removes makeup and purified your skin. It has patented technology - a attached Turbo Cleansing Tool - to give you that deep clean that makes your skin feel super fresh. Wanna know more? Yeah, baby. Click that link in my bio.
16 of 25
17. On set of #beingmaryjane like... ❤️😬💃🏾
17 of 25
18. #carouselofhope@yvetteshelton100@makeupbylatrice @thestacetheface@marialuciahohan24
18 of 25
19. I refuse to let a little cold stop me from my daily routines to greatness. #onlythestrongsurvive #warriors
19 of 25
20. Big things begin with big THINKING... #BusinessEthics #SetLife 🎥
20 of 25
21. Goodnight - here's a song
21 of 25
22. Words can't explain the feeling that I have right now.....God is good. look momma I made it. #Harts #Blessed #WhatNow #comedicrockstarshit #4DaysAway
22 of 25
23. I tried to get a better video with out the nasty bib but she started getting mad at me..lol! Big cuz @the_queen_caitlin trying to show her what to do. #MamasToots #HeirBear👑💜
23 of 25
24. Gorgeous Serena joined Beyoncé in Formation last night on stage in New Jersey!!!
24 of 25
25. 😜 @lifeofdesiigner & @rockohill
25 of 25