Annual Report: Haiti 2013

Report
May 23, 2013

Annual Report: Haiti 2013

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REPUBLIC OF HAITI

Head of state Michel Joseph Martelly

Head of government Laurent Lamothe

More than 320,000 people made homeless by the January 2010 earthquake remained displaced during 2012. Thousands of internally displaced people were forcibly evicted by local authorities and private landowners. Women reporting gender-based violence received little redress. No steps were taken to address impunity for past human rights abuses.

Background

Increasing political tensions between Parliament and the presidency led to the resignation in February of Prime Minister Garry Conille after four months in office. The President's choice of Prime Minister, Laurent Lamothe, took office in May. In the last quarter of the year, there were demonstrations in several parts of the country against the government's apparent failure to respond to socio-economic problems. Protesters demanded the resignation of President Martelly.

In August, President Martelly established the Permanent Electoral Council. Only six of the nine members were appointed as Parliament could not reach consensus on its three representatives. Three appointments by the High Council of the Judiciary were contested for failing to respect selection procedures and in October the High Council appointed three new representatives. The creation of a Permanent Electoral Council, a key institution in organizing local and general elections, had been pending since the adoption of the Constitution in 1987.

In October, the UN Security Council renewed the mandate of the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) for a ninth year and recommended the gradual reduction of its military and police component. There was growing public discontent with MINUSTAH, particularly because a UN Nepalese battalion was alleged to be responsible for the outbreak of cholera in Haiti and because MINUSTAH soldiers were alleged to be involved in a number of cases of sexual violence.

Tropical storms Isaac and Sandy, which lashed Haiti respectively in late August and late October, exacerbated the cholera outbreak, intensified food insecurity and increased the number of homeless families. The storms affected more than 15,000 households living in makeshift camps for internally displaced people.

The post-quake humanitarian situation in Haiti remained a source of concern in several areas as regards protection, shelter, health care, water and sanitation. The cholera outbreak, which killed around 900 people during the year, compounded the situation, while lack of funding hindered the humanitarian response. Post-quake recovery efforts continued at a slow pace due in part to political instability, weak public institutions and delays in the disbursement of funds pledged by the international community. As of September, only US$2.79 billion of the US$5.53 billion pledged had been disbursed.

A law ratifying the ICESCR was adopted in May. However, by the end of the year, the President had not promulgated the law.

Internally displaced people

More than 320,000 people made homeless by the January 2010 earthquake were still living in makeshift camps at the end of 2012. The government, assisted by the International Organization for Migration and its partners, continued implementing return and relocation programmes for internally displaced people living in those camps most at risk due to natural hazards. Throughout 2012, around 134,000 families were helped to move out of the camps by rent subsidies or offers of temporary shelter.

Living conditions in the camps remained dire. Sanitation in some camps improved, but there were concerns about water quality and its connection to an increase of reported cases of cholera during the rainy and hurricane season (April to November).

Housing rights – forced evictions

Forced evictions of internally displaced people continued in Port-au-Prince and other quake-affected areas. Thousands of people were made homeless again when their makeshift shelters were destroyed during forced evictions. These were carried out without due process, adequate notice or consultation. Those who lost their homes were not offered alternative housing. Coercion, harassment and violence accompanied the forced evictions.