Conflict & Justice

Haiti's displaced people speak out



Scott Eisen


Internally displaced people (IDPs) from tent camps across Port-au-Prince, including Camp Acra on Delmas 33, marched Thursday in a protest led by grassroots organizations dedicated to protecting the housing rights of internally displaced people in Haiti. 

According to a dispatch from the organization Under Tents, protestors called for the preservation of their right to housing and held signs reading, “Everyone should live like human beings” and “The rain soaks us, the sun bakes us.”

Approximately 320,000 Haitians are still internally displaced three years after the 2010 earthquake, living in camps scattered throughout the Port-au-Prince metropolitan area. The earthquake killed 200,000 and left 2.3 million homeless, according to Amnesty International.

Many of the IDPs are now facing brutal eviction, forced upon them by people claiming to own the land the camps are settled on. Inadequate documentation of land ownership and corruption within the legal system leave these IDPs with the constant fear of eviction from the makeshift homes they created after losing everything in the quake.

On the night of February 16, 2013, Camp Acra—an IDP camp home to around 930 families—was set ablaze, forcing all residents to evacuate. For the second time in three years, the residents of the camp lost their homes and belongings.

According to camp residents, the land is privately owned but the person who claims to own the property has never been able to provide the legal documents that prove his ownership of the land. Residents say he has resorted to force, intimidation and, eventually, arson to force them to leave.

According to Amnesty International, approximately 75,000 individuals live under the threat of eviction.