Washington, D.C. – For the 1.5 million people still living in displacement camps, forced evictions pose an immediate threat of grave and irreparable harm, according to a coalition of human rights advocates who will testify on October 26 before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights on unlawful forced evictions being carried out in displacement camps across Haiti.
Entire settlements have been destroyed and residents who refuse to vacate their camps are routinely terrorized and beaten by the police. Hundreds of camps have been threatened with eviction or actually evicted as people purporting to be land owners stake claim to the land. Most of the time, communities are left homeless again without any other place to go.
“Forced expulsions of the internally displaced violate Haitian and international law,” lawyer Mario Joseph with Bureau des Advocats Internationaux, who will testify at the hearing said. “This is just the beginning of a problem we’ll be facing for years to come unless the Haitian government immediately puts a moratorium on forced expulsions, verifies land ownership titles, and nationalizes by decree all empty and idle lands in the hands of purported landowners.”
The coalition of human rights advocates, which includes the Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti, Bureau des Avocats Internationaux, the International Human Rights Law Clinic at American University’s Washington College of Law, the disaster law center You.Me.We., and the University of San Francisco School of Law Center for Law and Global Justice, will also be filing a Request for Precautionary Measures with the Inter-American Commission, demanding an immediate moratorium on forced evictions, an investigation into these violations, and implementation of human rights monitoring mechanisms that will protect the rights of Haiti’s most vulnerable population.
Along with Attorney Joseph Nicole Lee, President of TransAfrica Forum and Nicole Phillips, Staff Attorney at the Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti will be speaking.