Increasing threats for the displaced population in Haiti
A few days before the swearing in ceremony of Haitian president Joseph Michel Martelly on May 14, there are growing threats on the displaced people by the earthquake.
In addition to violent evacuations, very poor health conditions, general lack of access to basic services and growing violence risks, mainly against women and children, the displaced are threatened by the announced hurricanes in the beginning of June.
A team of investigators from the Atmosphere Science team at Colorado University, foresees 17 cyclones and 9 hurricanes which could affect the Atlantic Ocean with a high probability of impact on the Caribbean in the area of Haiti.
The situation could be very grave for the displaced. Due to the very vulnerable situation of the camps, just some rain with strong gusts of wind could destroy the withered tents and flood the camps.
Over a year and a half after the earthquake and in spite of efforts of the Haitian authorities and international agencies for the temporary relocation of the displaced, the country is still waiting for "durable solutions for housing 680.000 displaced who are still living in tents and also for the returning communities" according to Mission Head for the International Migration Organization in Haiti, Luca Dall’oglio.
Facing this situation, the Jesuit Refugee Service, JRS, asks new Haitian authorities to stop the violent evacuations that go against human rights and the lives of the displaced, while "establishing conditions and means to allow internally displaced persons to return voluntarily, in safety and with dignity to their homes or places of habitual residence or to resettle voluntarily in another part of the country", according to principle 28 of the UN Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement.
Increasing threats of violent evacuations: Camp Palais de l’Art
Last May 10, more than 150 families living in the camp Palais de l’Art, situated in Delmas 33, found themselves locked in. That morning when some of the displaced tried to carry out their activities, they saw the door leading to the street was locked. In their desperate try to climb the wall to jump to the street, many were wounded.
“It´s a strategy used by the landowner to force us to leave the camp" explained one of them. On May 9, the displaced of that camp had found the only bathrooms closed with nails. The landowner threatened them f they tried to open the bathrooms.
In a meeting with camp committee members with the participation of the International Organization for Migrations and the JRS, the landowner had given the displaced up to May 1, to leave the camp.
According to the landowner's lawyer, the Ministry of the Interior had signed with its client a contract for 25 thousand dollars which expired on December 2010.
Testimonies of displaced persons: "We have nowhere to go"
These are some the testimonies that the displaced of the Palais de l'Art gave the JRS regarding the dates given by the landowner:
“I live in the Palais de l’Art camp since January 13, 2010. Mi house was partially destroyed by the earthquake and I have not been able to go back since then because my husband and I are unemployed. I have no money to repair the house. With this short date that the landowner is giving us to leave the camp, I don´t know what to do" said Magalie Gilot.
“I am here for the past six months . After the earthquake I returned to my home town in the province. But after that I came here because a friend invited me. I had nowhere to go. I came with her. If the conditions where I lived were good, I would not be here. I came looking for work" said Benita Pierre.
Read the interview with SJR Haití director about the current situation in the country