Sign on to this letter, calling for acknowledgment of and adherence to the rights guaranteed to the internally-displaced.
After the earthquake of January 12th, over 2 million survivors left the wreckage of their homes and sought refuge in camps constructed on any open land. The Haitian Government and private landowners have evicted thousands of residents from these encampments without a viable alternative for their relocation, and in some cases with no alternative at all.
The UN and Haitian Government agreed on April 22 to an immediate 3-week moratorium on forced evictions which expired, Thursday, May 13th. Within that period reports of evictions continued. Humanitarian aid, including food, water and sanitation facilities have been cut off in targeted camps (1, 2). In other locations, residents are being harassed and abused by the police. The people most affected by the earthquake, those who have lost their families, homes and livelihoods, now live in fear that they may be violently forced to leave their present settlements without viable options established for relocation (2).
These actions are prohibited under the UN’s Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement. The UN Principles, which are based upon international humanitarian law and human rights instruments, establish the framework for protecting the rights of displaced people, including the right to basic services (food, water, shelter, education, medical services, and sanitation) and to be protected from violence (4). When these rights are not upheld, UN agencies are obligated to call on relevant parties to respect them (5). Specifically, the OCHA CCCM Cluster-designated Camp Coordinator is charged with developing an “exit/transition strategy for camp closures while ensuring that responses are in line with ... standards including relevant government, human rights, and legal obligations" (7, 8).