[News] Human rights group sues mayor in Haiti for terrorizing earthquake victims

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Thu Jun 2 13:41:26 EDT 2011

For Immediate Release:

May 31, 2011

Mario Joseph, Av., Managing Attorney, Bureau des Avocats 
Internationaux, mario at ijdh.org,
+509-3701-9879/ +509-3554-4284 (in Port-au-Prince) (French)
Jeena Shah, Esq., Legal Fellow, Bureau des Avocats Internationaux, 
jeena at ijdh.org, +509-3610-2781
(in Port-au-Prince) (English)

Human rights group sues mayor in Haiti for terrorizing earthquake 
victims during unlawful evictions

On Wednesday, June 1, 2011, the Bureau des Avocats Internationaux 
(BAI) will file a complaint with Haiti's
National Prosecutor against Delmas Mayor Wilson Jeudy for his recent 
spree of illegal evictions in
displacement camps created after the January 12, 2010 earthquake. 
Grassroots human rights organizations
and tent camp residents also plan to stage a protest at 10 am at the 
Ministry of Justice, while the complaint is
being filed, to draw attention to their grievances. The protest will 
end before the nation's Parliament.

At least three camps housing approximately 1,000 displaced persons in 
the Port-au-Prince suburb were
destroyed last week by Mayor Jeudy, his armed security personnel and 
units from the Haitian National
Police, as a part of the Mayor's declared mission to remove camps 
from public lands. The police came with
little to no warning and raided the camps under the pretext of 
searching for criminals, slashing tents with
machetes and assaulting residents trying to protest the raids.

BAI's complaint on behalf of individual victims of the evictions 
charges Mayor Jeudy with violations of the
rights to life and housing protected by Haiti's Constitution and 
crimes against the person and property,
articulated in the Haitian Penal Code. "As a public official, Mayor 
Jeudy is not above the law," said BAI
Managing Attorney Mario Joseph. "Haitian law only permits him to 
enter private domiciles, regardless of
where they are located, with a judicial mandate or a Municipal Decree 
published in advance, neither of
which the Mayor had to justify his acts."

Last week's evictions in Delmas are just a snapshot of a larger 
epidemic of forced evictions that began
almost immediately after the earthquake struck 16 months ago. The 
Inter-American Commission on Human
Rights issued directives to the Haitian government last fall to 
impose a moratorium on evictions and protect
displaced communities from the violence often associated with forced 
evictions. However, due in large part
to government inaction, the International Organization on Migration 
estimated that 166,000 people were still
facing imminent threats of eviction as of April.

Mayor Jeudy tried to defend his actions by arguing that the public 
spaces occupied by tent camps needed to
be open to the communities at large. "Mayor Jeudy is ignoring his 
duties as a State agent," said BAI attorney
Jeena Shah. "Since Haiti is a party to the American Convention on 
Human Rights and a host of other human
rights treaties, Mayor Jeudy has a duty to not only protect displaced 
persons from forced evictions, but also
facilitate their resettlement into decent housing."

While the Mayor believes that many of the camps' residents have 
housing but were staying in camps to
access free services, the appalling conditions of displacement camps 
make apparent the fact that if the
earthquake victims had somewhere else to go, they would have left long ago.

Founded in 1995, the Bureau des Avocats Internationaux (BAI) is the 
only public interest law firm in
Haiti. With the support of the Institute for Justice & Democracy in 
Haiti, the BAI uses litigation,
advocacy, documentation and grassroots empowerment to advance the 
rule of law and challenge the
unjust structures that violate the human rights of Haiti's poor 
majority. Visit haitijustice.org. Follow

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