Salt in the Wound

The urgent need to prevent forced evictions from camps in Haiti

Publication date: 10 December 2012
Author: Herold Toussaint, Advocacy Officer, Oxfam GB

As the third anniversary of the January 2010 earthquake, which brought so much destruction to Haiti, approaches, this briefing note highlights the plight of the hundreds of thousands of Haitians still living in camps and still without adequate housing. Against this backdrop, displaced Haitians now face persistent and worsening threats of, often violent, eviction from landowners eager to get their land back. It is vital that national and international attention be brought to bear on this serious problem, so that the rights of displaced people can be properly protected.

Key recommendations from the report

The government should:

  • Give the UCLBP a clear mandate to ensure that its national policy on housing, living conditions and urban development includes mechanisms for preventing forced evictions. The Multi-stakeholder Forum on Housing recently launched by the UCLBP should monitor the application of these mechanisms;
  • Include all camps, especially camps under threat of forced evictions, in future return and re-housing programs in order to facilitate the permanent return of displaced populations to their home areas with security and dignity, and with a guaranteed minimum level of access to basic social services and the opportunity to earn an income
  • Recognize that landowners have a legitimate concern about recovery of their property and that the State has a responsibility to them as well. At the same time, the authorities must be rigorous in ensuring that owners do not intimidate or threaten camp inhabitants or resort to other unlawful measures in order to remove them.

The UN should:

  • Ensure that its humanitarian agenda includes, as a priority, the issue of forced evictions and the threat thereof as violations of the right of IDPs to adequate housing.

Donors should:

  • Continue to provide financial support to the government for the implementation of return and relocation programs, and insist on the need to propose sustainable solutions for the displaced, especially for the most vulnerable and in need of protection.