I am aware of recent reports of forced evictions of nearly seven hundred families from two makeshift camps in Port-au-Prince. On 22 January, the third anniversary of Haiti’s devastating earthquake. It has been reported that police officers forcibly evicted around six hundred families from Camp Place Sainte-Anne in the municipality of Port-au-Prince. Ten days later another eighty-four families were reportedly evicted from Camp Fanm Koperativ. In both cases agencies on the ground say that there was little or no notice of the eviction before their shelters were destroyed.
Amnesty International has called on the authorities to stop all illegal and violent evictions of people living in make-shift camps and to take meaningful steps to provide them with appropriate housing. Ireland supports these calls to halt illegal and violent evictions and to identify durable housing solutions for the displaced in Haiti.
While over 75% of the 1.5 million Haitians displaced by the earthquake have successfully returned to their homes or have received assistance to relocate, the situation of the 358,000 people still remaining in camps must be addressed in a dignified and sustainable way as a matter of urgency through the identification and provision of durable housing solutions for the displaced people. At the EU-CELAC (Community of Latin American and Caribbean States) Summit of Heads of State and Government that took place last month in Chile, the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade met with the President of Haiti, H.E. Michel Martelly. They discussed the challenges facing Haiti, with a particular focus on the provision of durable housing for the Internally Displaced population. The Tánaiste was briefed by President Martelly on progress to date, as well as on the Haitian Government’s strong commitment to providing those who are still in camps with appropriate housing solutions.
The Haiti Humanitarian Action Plan identifies shelter as a top priority requiring assistance of $46 million. Since the earthquake in Haiti over three years ago, Ireland’s response to the humanitarian needs has been significant and sustained. In 2010 Ireland pledged funding of €13m for Haiti for the period 2010-2012. This pledge has now been exceeded, and to date, €13.9 million in funding has been disbursed. This funding has focused on the most vulnerable and the most pressing needs, including emergency shelter and reconstruction. The Tánaiste availed of the opportunity of his recent meeting with President Martelly to assure him that Haiti remains a priority for Ireland in terms of humanitarian engagement. It is anticipated that Ireland will provide additional funding to Haiti in 2013 in order to continue our support for the rehabilitation and reconstruction process.
The reconstruction and provision of institutional support for Haiti is also a priority for the European Union which to date has provided €213 million in humanitarian assistance to the country, including an additional €30.5 million allocated in January to help those still homeless as a result of the earthquake, cholera victims and those badly affected by Hurricane Sandy. The Reconstruction of Haiti is one of the five core areas identified for closer cooperation in the recently adopted Joint Caribbean – EU Partnership Strategy.