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Many of the 350,000 people living in makeshift

camps since the 2010 earthquake are also at risk

Contact: Suzanne Trimel, [email protected], 212-633-4150, @AIUSAmedia

(New York) – The Haitian authorities must urgently move to prevent illegal and

violent evictions of people living in makeshift camps and take meaningful steps to

provide them with appropriate housing, said Amnesty International today, after a new

wave of evictions affected hundreds of families across Port-au-Prince. Many of the

350,000 people still living in makeshift camps following the 2012 earthquake are also at

risk.

On January 22, police officers violently evicted 84 families from camp Fanm

Koperativ, in the municipality of Port-au-Prince.

According to information gathered by Amnesty International, families were not given

any notice of the eviction and were forced out of their makeshift tents by officers

accompanied by a group of men armed with machetes and hammers.

Suze Mondesir, a member of the camp committee, recounted their ordeal: “Around 10

a.m. a group of police officers accompanied by men armed with machetes and knives

arrived at the camp. They insulted us and began to demolish our tents. The men pushed us

around and the police waved their guns at us to prevent us from reacting.”

A few days before the eviction, residents had organized a press conference to

denounce the lack of action from the authorities regarding their situation. Residents

believe that the expulsion might have happened in response to that.

Women have been particularly affected by the eviction as they have not only lost

their homes and belongings, but also their small business initiatives. Cléane Etienne, a

resident from Camp Fanm Koperatif said, “They kicked over the pot of coffee which I was

going to sell. That was my livelihood. Now I need money to start over.”

“Not only did we lose our belongings, but we also had to buy wood and tarpaulins to

rebuild our shelters, because we have nowhere else to go,” said another woman.

“Evicting people living in make-shift camps inflicts yet more trauma on people who

have already lost everything in the earthquake. By not even allowing them time to gather

their things and by leaving them out on the street, the authorities are denying

earthquake victims their dignity,” said Javier Zúñiga, special advisor at Amnesty

International.

Earlier in the month, on January 12 – the third anniversary of Haiti’s devastating

earthquake – municipal officials and officials from the Civil Protection Agency forcibly

evicted around 600 families from Camp Place Sainte-Anne, also in Port-au-Prince.

The camp’s residents were informed of the eviction only five days in advance and were

promised 20,000 gourdes (approximately U.S. $480) per family. However, according to the

local organization Groupe d’Appui aux Rapatriés et Réfugiés, 250 families have yet to

receive any money. On the day of the eviction, none of the families were given enough

time to gather their belongings before their shelters were destroyed.

“We saw municipal officials firing in the air, throwing stones so we would leave, the

police came later to back them up,” said Carnise Delbrun, a member of the committee in

Camp Place Sainte-Anne. “Four people were hurt including a one-year-old baby and a

five-year-old child who were injured by a plank of wood when the municipal officials

were destroying their tent. Other residents were hit by stones and a lot of us lost

money, mobile phones, and other personal effects.”

“Forcing people out of camps must be avoided at all costs, and there must be genuine

consultation and the provision of adequate alternative housing before any eviction takes

place.” said Zúñiga, “The Haitian authorities must prioritize the housing needs of those

people still living in dire conditions in displacement camps three years after the

earthquake.”

On January 12, 2010, a devastating earthquake in Haiti left 200,000 dead and 2.3

million people homeless. Three years on, it is estimated that more than 350,000 people

are currently living in 496 camps across the country.

Amnesty International is a Nobel Peace Prize-winning grassroots activist

organization with more than 3 million supporters, activists and volunteers in more than

150 countries campaigning for human rights worldwide. The organization investigates and

exposes abuses, educates and mobilizes the public, and works to protect people wherever

justice, freedom, truth, and dignity are denied.