Haiti’s housing crisis needs attention

Human rights watchdog Amnesty International says the abject failure to sustainably rehouse tens of thousands of people who lost everything in the devastating 2010 earthquake in Haiti must be a top priority for the new Prime Minister Evans Paul.

In an open letter to Paul, the London-based group said more than 79,000 people are still living in make-shift camps “in deplorable conditions, meanwhile violent forced evictions continue.”

The open-letter also calls on the prime minister, who assumed office on Jan. 16, to address a “worrying increase in the brutal repression of peaceful demonstrations, including injuries and even death meted out at the hands of the police”.

“Haiti is at a cross-roads and new Prime Minister Evans Paul has an opportunity to lead the country on towards a better realization of human rights,” said Erika Guevara Rosas, Americas Director Amnesty International.

“The task is not an easy one, we have seen a worrying increase in repression and violence from different security forces,” she added. “However, there are concrete moves the prime minister can make to set Haiti on the right track.

“The prime minister, as a priority must implement full investigations into the cases of all forced evictions and ensure that no more evictions take place under his watch,” Guevara Rosas continued.

She also urged Paul to ensure that no-one is arbitrarily detained for their political activism, nor persecuted for lobbying for human rights change.

“The time has come for a fresh star,” she said.

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