Housing activist Reyneld Sanon is beginning a tour to key cities in the United States. The tour will raise awareness about Under Tents, the international campaign for housing rights in Haiti. The campaign is a joint initiative of Haitian grassroots groups and more than 30 international organizations that are demanding a solution for Haiti’s homeless.
Citizen Organizing & Politics
"Homelessness, Displacement, Evictions . . . This Sounds Familiar": New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center
By Hannah Adams, Guest Contributor
In both disasters, large regions lost the majority of their affordable housing stock, resulting in massive spikes in homelessness and displacement. UNITY of Greater New Orleans reports that homelessness rates effectively doubled in the city from January 2005 to January 2009.  The Greater New Orleans Community Data Center adds that New Orleans experienced a population loss of over 140,000 according to the 2010 census, and that poor New Orleanians and families with children under eighteen were among those less likely to return.  Meanwhile, the Under Tents Campaign reports that 400,000 Haitians remain homeless in displacement camps where they face gender-based violence, disease, unsanitary living conditions, and flooding.
"The quantity of people who are homeless in Port-au-Prince today is not acceptable. We need the support of other governments, like the US, to demand that the Haitian Government create a social housing plan. We are looking for allies to help our advocacy. We are asking simply for quality homes where people can live." - Jackson Doliscar of the grassroots group Force for Reflection and Action on Housing (FRAKKA).
Last week, Latin American social movements sent the following letter to defense ministers of UNASUR member states, demanding accountability from the UN and withdrawal of MINUSTAH troops from Haiti. Distributed by our friends at Jubilee South.
We commend the Ministers of Defense and the High Representatives for Foreign Relations of UNASUR’s Member States for the consideration given at their meeting at Asunción, Paraguay, on June 5, to the situation in our fellow country Haiti, and we support the recognition expressed in their Declaration of the importance of consolidating a policy, on behalf of UNASUR, of a sustained cooperation which “respects the sovereignty and the self-determination of the Haitian people” and which achieves “a tangible improvement in the living conditions” as the necessary basis of security and lasting peace.
We therefore urge UNASUR’s member states to take firm and effective measures in that direction, including the immediate withdrawal of the 4,929 occupying troops (including both soldiers and military police) currently deployed in Haiti by 10 of UNASUR’s 12 Member States; an end to the MINUSTAH mission and of all other foreign military presence; and furthermore an end to the impunity and absence of justice that have allowed the continued toleration of violations of human rights by these forces.
By Beverly Bell
June 16, 2012
Helia Lajeunesse |Port-au-Prince, Haiti
The restavèk system is modern slavery. When a family takes in a restavèk to live with them, they stop doing any work in the house. The restavèk child has to do everything. If the child doesn’t work hard enough, they beat them. The child can’t eat with the family, and usually doesn’t even eat the same food – just scraps. He or she sleeps on the ﬂoor, often in the kitchen. They don’t pay the child; they just give them a little food. They never send him or her to school. The family views that child as an animal.
By Alexis Erkert
March 28, 2012
When police and the landowner commanded Michelène Pierre to vacate her tent on a Sunday afternoon so that they could light it on fire, she responded: “If you want to light me on fire along with this entire camp, go ahead. I’m not leaving.” The police bypassed her tent, but continued to threaten other residents of Camp Kozbami, setting flame to six tents.
Camp Kozbami is the fifth camp to be arsoned in two months. As landowners and the government push to close camps inhabited by those displaced by the earthquake that rocked Haiti 26 months ago, a reported 94,632 individuals are facing forced eviction.
by Alexis Erkert, photos by Ben Depp
March 14, 2012
“As activists, we commemorate this as a day of struggle, a day to make our voices heard until someone pays attention and helps provide solutions to our problems." Facing the Haitian parliament with a throng of banner-waving and singing women at her back, Rachelle Fondechaine of Women Fighting for the Development of Haiti continued, "Today is March 8th! It's a day when women workers in New York first took to the streets in to demand their rights in 1857. This day is marked in our memories, and as women in Haiti, we have no support, we are left in the street, our children don't have access to school...”
New Survey Shows Residents of Haiti’s Capital Have Negative View of UN Troops and Feel They Should Compensate Victims of Cholera
February 15, 2012
Contact: Mark Schuller, firstname.lastname@example.org
A newly published survey indicates that a majority of residents of Haiti’s capital have a negative opinion of UN troops stationed in Haiti. The survey of over 800 households throughout Port-au-Prince shows that less than a quarter of respondents considered that the presence of the U.N. Stabilization Mission in Haiti (or MINUSTAH) is a “good thing” while a majority feel that the troops aren’t providing adequate security. A large percentage (43.9%) of respondents believed that MINUSTAH agents are or have been engaged in criminal activities such as violence, theft and rape.
Before the end of the month, a Haitian judge will decide whether or not "Baby Doc" Jean-Claude Duvalier will face trial for the crimes against humanity committed during his 15-year dictatorship. Charges include corruption, embezzlement, murder, torture, exile, arbitrary detention and destruction of private property. Duvalier, who for 15 years succeeded his father "Papa Doc" Duvalier's brutal regime, returned to Haiti in January 2011 and was charged three days later.
A coalition of Haitian human rights organizations and individuals have written an open letter urging President Martelly to take the Duvalier case seriously.
January 20, 2012
As government officials, diplomats, and representatives of international finance institutions celebrated at a groundbreaking ceremony for a new industrial park in the north of the country, Haitian grassroots media organizations have published a report that casts serious doubt on the wisdom of the project.