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CLGJ Report Addresses Haitian IDP Camp Closures

January 26, 2012

Two years after a devastating earthquake, hundreds of thousands of Haitians are still living in camps in and around Port-au-Prince, and a new report from the Center for Law and Global Justice aims to help the resettlement process.

To address issues faced by camp residents since the announcement of Haiti President Michel Martelly’s 16/6 resettlement program, which aims to relocate people in six camps to their 16 original neighborhoods, the Center for Law and Global Justice (CLGJ) co-published the report “Haiti’s Housing Crisis: Results of a Household Survey on the Progress of President Michel Martelly’s 100-Day Plan to Close Six IDP Camps” this fall.

The report, authored by CLGJ Assistant Director for Haiti Programs Nicole Phillips, is based on information collected during interviews of camp residents by USF School of Law students in the Haiti and the Rule of Law course. Phillips has utilized the report to advocate against unlawful evictions and for resettlement assistance and greater community outreach for Haitians still living in displacement camps.

“The students’ interviews with Haitian families living in displacement camps provided the basis of our report on housing rights and accountability to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights,” Phillips said. “The report was also delivered to members of Congress at a congressional briefing and to U.N. human rights officials in Geneva and New York.”

The interview results found that families in the IDP camps struggled to survive without adequate food or safe drinking water, did not receive sufficient information on camp closures, and, in some instances, received little to no assistance to relocate and faced heavy-handed law enforcement upon camp closures.

In addition to their time in Haiti, students enrolled in Haiti and the Rule of Law spent approximately two weeks in San Francisco studying Haitian law and international human rights law. Topics included efforts to strengthen Haiti’s justice system, an overview of human rights enforcement via the United Nations and Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, the right to housing after a natural disaster, and accountability of humanitarian aid organizations and donor countries operating in Haiti.

The Freitas Foundation is funding two student scholarships for participants in Haiti and the Rule of Law, which will take place again this summer. For information, visit www.usfca.edu/law/immersion.