A cuatro años del terremoto, unas 170 mil personas aún viven en campamentos

A cuatro años del terremoto, Amnistía Internacional afirma que se hizo poco por los afectados

Four years after the devastating earthquake in Haiti, which killed around 200,000 people and left some 2.3 million homeless, very little has been done to ensure the respect, protection and fulfilment of the right to adequate housing, Amnesty International said on Thursday.

More than 170,000 people are estimated to still be living in more than 300 displacement camps, in the majority of cases in appalling conditions with no access to essential basic services such as clean water, toilets and waste disposal. While the dire sanitation conditions leave them exposed to the risk of cholera and other diseases, the lack of solid shelters makes them vulnerable to flooding and other adverse weather conditions especially during the hurricane season.

Although official numbers of internally-displaced persons (IDPs) have significantly gone down from the initial estimated 1.5 million in July 2010, most people who have been relocated from camps have not benefitted from durable housing solutions which ensures their right to adequate housing.

According to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), more than 113,000 internally displaced households have been resettled in transitional shelters while more than 55,000 have been relocated through rental subsidies programmes. Families who are beneficiaries of those programmes receive about US$500 to rent accommodation of their choice for a year and an additional grant of about US$125.

“While these strategies have achieved a drastic reduction in the number of displacement camps, they have not contributed at all to solving the housing crisis that the earthquake exacerbated. It is like sweeping the problem under the carpet”, said Javier Zúñiga, Amnesty International’s special advisor.

An evaluation commissioned by donors in January 2013 on the rental subsidies programmes found that 60% of beneficiaries believed they would not have enough funds to maintain the same quality of accommodation once the rental subsidy period had ended. Of the 75% whose contracts had ended and who had moved, they were generally living in declining standards of accommodation.

Forced evictions is another factor contributing to the reduction in the number of IDPs living in camps. According to IOM statistics from September 2013, forced evictions accounted for 11% of those leaving IDP camps whilst another 45% of the remaining camp population is under threat of eviction.

In April 2013, Amnesty International published the report “Nowhere to go. Forced evictions in Haiti’s displacement camps” which documented a pattern of forced evictions of internally displaced families from camps built both on public and private land.

Although the Haitian government responded to Amnesty’s report with two public statements distancing it from those practices and promising thorough investigations into allegations of forced evictions, nobody has yet to be brought to justice, victims have not received any remedy for the violations of their rights and there is no evidence that such investigations are being carried out. Moreover, further forced evictions have taken place since those statements were made.

Amnesty International is particularly concerned for the security of people living in Canaan, a large tract of land several kilometres away on the northern outskirts of Port-au-Prince which was declared for “public use” (utilité publique) by the then government in March 2010.

Tens of thousands of people who lost their homes in the earthquake, including many who had been forcibly evicted from camps in Port-au-Prince, resettled in Canaan hoping to be safe from evictions. Many have started building concrete houses. However, the status of the land remains unclear and none of the families have security of tenure protecting them against forced eviction. Confusion remains about which exact portion of land has been declared of “public use” and about the completion of the expropriation procedure. As a consequence, thousands of people living there are under threat of forced eviction, exposed to intimidation and harassment from those who lay claim to the land.

“Canaan is a powder keg. Failure from authorities to address the situation of security of tenure could lead to countless conflicts and leave those living there exposed to serious violations of human rights”, warned Zúñiga.

The most recent forced eviction in Canaan took place between 7 and 10 December in the sector known as Titanyen when more than 200 families were made homeless. Many of them were internally displaced by the earthquake and had relocated in Titanyen after having been forcibly evicted in May 2012 from Camp Mozayik in the Delmas municipality of Port-au-Prince.

According to the residents they had no prior notice of the eviction and therefore had no opportunity to appeal against it. They were not allowed time to collect their belongings and over a dozen people were assaulted, including a woman who was four months pregnant. More than 3,000 families living in other sectors in Canaan known as Village des Pêcheurs and Grâce de Dieu are believed to be at imminent risk of eviction.

On 23 October 2013, the prime minister announced the adoption of the country’s first national housing and habitat policy. Even though the prime minister defined the policy as “the reference framework for public institutions, regional authorities, civil society organisations and technical and financial partners”, the full document of the policy has yet to be distributed and civil society organisations have told Amnesty International that they are not aware of its contents.

Previous drafts seen by Amnesty International failed to set out concrete plans for those living in poverty to access adequate and affordable housing and did not include measures to prevent forced evictions.

“The Haitian government cannot afford to lose this opportunity. The adoption of a human rights based national housing policy and its effective implementation are the only way the Government can show real commitment to respecting people’s dignity and to give them what the Haitian constitution entitles them to: decent housing”, said Zúñiga.

Four years on, Amnesty International is urging the Haitian authorities to prioritise action to make the right to adequate housing a reality in the country, in particular by ensuring that:

– Plans are set in place to relocate IDPs from camps based on durable solutions which ensures that all alternative accommodation meets the requirement for adequacy of housing under international law;

– The national housing and habitat policy is designed to be consistent with relevant international human rights standards and to ensure access to adequate housing for all those who need it, particularly the most vulnerable and marginalised such as those living in poverty;

– Measures are put in place to clarify the status of the land in Canaan and to provide residents with security of tenure;

– Adopt a moratorium on all mass evictions until adequate safeguards have been put in place to ensure that all evictions comply with international human rights standards;

– Adopt and enforce legislation prohibiting forced evictions and which sets down safeguards which must be complied with prior to any eviction being undertaken, in conformity with international human rights standards including the UN Basic Principles and Guidelines on Development-Based Evictions and Displacement

– Effective mechanisms to prevent forced evictions by both state and non-state actors are put in place, including by reviewing existing procedures and improving coordination among relevant actors;

– Formal instructions are passed to mayor’s offices, police stations and municipal courts, for them not to participate in or facilitate forced evictions and clear mechanisms to monitor the implementation of these instructions are put in place.

– Cases of forced evictions and of threats of forced evictions (including threats against IDPs and human rights defenders trying to prevent forced evictions) are effectively investigated and perpetrators brought to justice;

– Victims of forced evictions are provided with effective remedies.




Haïti-Séisme/4 ans : Des activités officielles prévues pour le 12 janvier 2014


La cérémonie officielle du quatrième anniversaire du tremblement de terre dévastateur du 12 janvier 2010 se tiendra sur la grande place publique du Champ de Mars (Port-au-Prince) [1],par une messe œcuménique en présence des officiels du gouvernement, apprend AlterPresse auprès du porte-parole de la présidence, Lucien Jura.

Un stand est déjà en construction près des ruines du palais national, détruit le 12 janvier 2010.

Le dimanche 12 janvier 2014, le président Joseph Michel Martelly fera une offrande florale au site de Saint-Christophe (au nord de la capitale), où ont été ensevelies des milliers de personnes décédées lors du tremblement de terre.

Au Champ de Mars, une minute de recueillement sera observée à 4:53 pm (21:53 gmt), heure à laquelle le séisme a eu lieu en Haïti. Des ballons seront lâchés dans le ciel en la circonstance.

Le Musée du panthéon national haïtien (Mupanah) accueillera également une exposition de photos des conséquences du 12 janvier 2010.

Le gouvernement prévoit des visites guidées au centre-ville de Port-au-Prince ainsi que des constructions réalisées à « Zoranje » (Croix des Bouquets, au nord-est de la capitale) et à Morne à Cabris, pour les journalistes tant locaux qu’internationaux, les vendredi 10 et samedi 11 janvier 2014.

La commémoration du quatrième anniversaire du séisme sera surtout axée sur la célébration de la vie pour appeler au relèvement du pays, indique Jura.

Ce sera un moment de méditer sur l’importance de la vie et de la nécessité de faire les choses autrement, notamment en ce qui concerne le respect des normes de construction.

Il reste des défis à relever, reconnait Lucien Jura, insistant, toutefois, sur les efforts consentis par l’actuelle administration politique depuis mai 2011.

La question du respect des normes de construction est une grande responsabilité de l’État et des responsables municipaux, ajoute-t-il.

Des dispositions sont prises par les ministères des travaux publics et de l’intérieur en vue de porter davantage les mairies à contrôler les types de constructions dans le respect des normes y relatives, selon Jura.

Il faut en même temps un travail d’éducation civique pour sensibiliser les gens à avoir un comportement plus responsable, préconise-t-il, appelant aussi à un renforcement des institutions.




Haïti: «La reconstruction, c’est l’affaire de tous», dit Martelly

Le président haïtien Michel Martelly a estimé mercredi que la reconstruction d’Haïti, frappé par un violent séisme en janvier 2010, était «l’affaire de tous les Haïtiens», lançant également un appel à l’unité à l’occasion de la fête de l’indépendance du pays.

Intervenant sur la télévision nationale (TNH) depuis la ville des Gonaïves, dans le nord, où a été proclamée en 1804 l’indépendance d’Haïti (Saint-Domingue à l’époque) de la France, le chef de l’Etat haïtien a invité ses compatriotes à s’unir pour faire face aux défis qui se présenteront en 2014.

«Haïti est très malade. Nous devons rebâtir ce pays qui est nôtre. Mais ce travail n’est pas celui d’un seul président, ni d’un groupe. C’est le travail de nous tous, ensemble nous y arriverons», a déclaré en créole le président Martelly.

A l’occasion du 210e anniversaire de l’indépendance d’Haïti, M. Martelly avait invité huit anciens présidents d’Haïti aux festivités, mais seuls deux étaient présents à la tribune officielle.

L’ex-général président Prosper Avril, auteur d’un coup d’Etat en 1988, et l’ancien président à vie Jean-Claude Duvalier (1971-1986), revenu en Haïti en 2011 après 26 ans d’exil en France, se trouvaient à la tribune officielle. Jean-Claude Duvalier est actuellement poursuivi par la justice pour crimes contre l’humanité et détournement de fonds.

«Remettre Haïti debout exige l’effort et le secours de tous ses enfants. Je vous invite à rassembler vos forces et à vous unir pour travailler afin de relever les défis qui nous attendent en 2014», a lancé M. Martelly.

«Je souhaite que le 210e anniversaire de l’indépendance d’Haïti amène un nouvel état d’esprit», a-t-il ajouté.

Au plan politique, le président haïtien a convié les dirigeants des partis politiques au dialogue dans le but de créer la stabilité au cours de l’année 2014 afin d’organiser des élections sénatoriales et municipales prévues en 2013, mais qui n’ont pas pu se tenir faute d’un consensus entre les acteurs politiques.

«C’est dans la paix et la stabilité que nous ferons avancer Haïti. C’est à ce prix que le pays remportera des victoires dans le combat pour vaincre l’ignorance, pour créer des emplois et instaurer l’école et la santé pour tous», a indiqué le président haïtien.

Un groupe de partis de l’opposition continue de réclamer la démission du président Michel Martelly, un ancien chanteur populaire arrivé au pouvoir en mai 2011 après avoir été élu pour un mandat de 5 ans.