PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti -- Residents of a makeshift camp in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, which is under threat of forced eviction, have been informed by police that several of them are on an arrest list. Human rights organisation Amnesty International believes this threat to be linked to ongoing efforts by the alleged landowner to intimidate them into leaving their camp.
Residents at Grace Village camp, in the Carrefour area of metropolitan Port-au-Prince, have been informed by local police that they have a list of people from the camp they plan to arrest. On 15 February residents learned that an arrest warrant had been issued for two residents, one of whom is a camp committee member. On 18 February, residents reported that police came to the camp and arrested another camp committee member. She was released without charge the following day and was never given a reason for her arrest. The police subsequently informed camp residents that they had a list of several people from the camp who would be arrested, including other members of the camp committee. Again, no reasons have been given for the impending arrests.
Those on the list and the two for whom arrest warrants have been issued are said to be in hiding, and are fearful for their safety and that of their families. This harassment appears to be linked to a constant campaign of intimidation against camp residents from the alleged owner of the land on which the camp is situated. Scores of families were forcibly evicted on several occasions during 2012, at times with the participation of police from Carrefour, and the residents live in constant fear of forced eviction and being made homeless. They also face regular harassment from private security guards hired by the landowner, who throw rocks into the camp and shoot firearms into the air.
Amnesty International has asked concerned readers to write immediately in French or their own language to the authorities in Haiti:
• Expressing concern at reports of arbitrary arrest and intimidation of residents of Grace Village by police in Carrefour and calling on the authorities to carry out a full and impartial investigation into these incidents;
• Calling on them to ensure that residents of Grace Village camp are not evicted without due process, adequate notice and consultation, and that all those affected have access to adequate alternative accommodation;
• Urging them to seek durable solutions to the housing needs of the Grace Village residents and the hundreds of thousands of others still living in dire conditions in makeshifts camps.
Appeals should be sent before 17 April 2013 to:
President 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
General Director of the Haitian Police
Directeur Général de la PNH
Police Nationale d’Haiti
Salutation: Monsieur le directeur/Dear Director
With copies to:
Minister of Justice and Public Security
Jean Renel Sanon
Ministère de la Justice et de la Sécurité Publique
19 Avenue Charles Sumner