Appeal to protect earthquake victims: Amnesty International. April 17, 2013 Amnesty International FAMILIES ATTACKED, risk forced eviction
Hundreds of families left homeless by the January 2010 earthquake in Haiti are living under the threat of forced eviction from their makeshift camp in the capital, Port-au-Prince. Their lives are in danger following a recent arson attack and the death of one resident in police custody.
A man claiming to own part of the land of the camp, Acra et Adoquin Delmas 33, came to the camp on 13 April with a Justice of the Peace and around five police officers. The man told residents of the camp, in the Port-au-Prince municipality of Delmas, that they had to leave and he would use “any means necessary” to have them removed. When he fired a pistol into the air, several residents began to throw stones and he ordered the police officers to arrest two of them. They were handcuffed but the other residents soon managed to have them released.
Two days later, at about 2am, a group of men on motorcycles set fire to seven tents in an attempt to set the camp alight. The residents managed to put out the fires and no one was injured. A number of residents went to the local police station at Delmas 33, less than 100 metres from the camp, to ask for police assistance. The police told them, however, that they did not have the resources to respond. Some residents later blocked the street between the police station and the camp, to protest against the arson attack and the police’s indifference. According to eyewitnesses, police from Delmas 33 police station arrested two of the protestors and beat one of whom, Civil Merius so brutally that he died of his injuries in police custody. The other arrested man, Darlin Lexima, was released without charge the next afternoon, and told Amnesty International delegates now in Haiti that he had been beaten in police custody.
According to residents, the camp is home to approximately 5,000 families – around 32,000 people. Only around 100 families live on the land claimed by the self-styled landlord, but the arson attack has made all residents fear they will be violently evicted.
Please write immediately in French or your own language:
Calling on the authorities to ensure that residents of Acra et Adoquin Delmas 33 camp are not evicted without due process, adequate notice and consultation, and that all those affected have access to adequate alternative accommodation;
Calling on them to order an investigation into the death in police custody of Civil Merius, the ill-treatment of Darlin Lexima and the arson attack on Acra et Adoquin Delmas 33 camp;
Urging them to seek durable solutions to the housing needs of the Acra et Adoquin Delmas 33 camp residents and the hundreds of thousands of others still living in dire conditions in makeshift camps.
PLEASE SEND APPEALS BEFORE 29 MAY 2013 TO:
Michel Joseph Martelly
Rue Magny, Port-au-Prince, Haiti
Fax: + 1 202-745-7215 (via Haiti embassy in the USA)
Salutation: Monsieur le Président/
Dear President Martelly
General Director of the Haitian Police
Directeur Général de la PNH
Police Nationale d’Haiti
Salutation: Monsieur le directeur/Dear Director
And copies to:
Mayor of Delmas
Mairie de Delmas
Also send copies to diplomatic representatives accredited to your country.
Please check with your section office if sending appeals after the above date.
FAMILIES ATTACKED, risk forced eviction
The 12 January 2010 earthquake in Haiti left more than 200,000 people dead and some 2.3 million homeless, who had no alternative but to make their own shelters wherever they could. Three years on, an estimated 320,000 people are still living in makeshift camps, nearly a quarter of whom are under threat of forced eviction.
Arson attacks on displacement camps is an increasingly common tactic used to force families to vacate the land they are living on. In the early hours of 16 February, Acra 1 camp in the municipality of Pétion-Ville was destroyed in an arson attack carried out by a group of armed men, forcing several hundred families to flee and leaving them homeless.