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Haiti - Reconstruction : Walter Kaelin, findings and recommendations
20/10/2010 13:05:34

Haiti - Reconstruction : Walter Kaelin, findings and recommendations
"Nine months after the earthquake, Haiti is still a deep humanitarian crisis which directly affects the fundamental rights of people displaced by the disaster", said on Tuesday, October 19 the UN Representative on Human Rights of IDPs, Walter Kaelin, returning from a visit to Haiti.

"Nearly 1.3 million Haitians who lost homes in the quake, which were added those who fled the living conditions exacerbated by the earthquake, now live in camps," said the independent expert of the UN, who visited "some of the worst neighborhoods of the capital," and other "slum outside" where the fate of those who live there "is less visible but no less serious" .

"People in the camps have special needs, including housing, which should be treated at the camps," said Walter Kaelin, calling for a change of humanitarian operations. According to him, "the camp population, but also the poor of Haiti, have other pressing needs such as access to health, water, sanitation and education, which should be a neighborhood approach, so that the entire population has access to these services according to their needs instead of being left in camps unsustainable."

He also called for the launch of faster reconstruction process. "It's a humanitarian crisis that requires a development solution. The Haitian government needs to establish and make public a detailed plan on how it intends to provide lasting solutions to people in the camps," he added.

"In the meantime, if donors provide flexible financing, rebuilding neighborhoods, on a smaller scale can go ahead and give much hope for this if necessary," said Walter Kaelin, before urging donor countries to continue support humanitarian assistance and protection activities for IDPs, as no substantial progress towards sustainable solutions is done.

The UN expert has also highlighted the importance of developing an approach based on the rights of IDPs. "The right of return is a key principle, when residential areas of origin have proved dangerous, voluntary relocation or resettlement elsewhere are options, provided that the livelihoods and access to basic services be assured, "he said.

Also raising the growing problem of forced evictions of private land, Walter Kaelin recalled that "it should not be any forced evictions without due process or search for reasonable alternative [...] the government must publicly defend this principle" he asked, recalling that "the right of ownership must be balanced with economic and social rights of victims of the earthquake."

Concerned also by the level of violence against women and children in the camps, he said that "rape was a serious problem, both within and outside the camps." "I encourage the Haitian National Police (PNH) and UN Mission for Stabilization in Haiti (MINUSTAH) to increase their presence and patrols in the camps, although this is only part of the solution .

In conclusion, Walter Kaelin called the Haitian government to send "a clear signal to the police and judiciary, to put an end to widespread impunity is a priority."

HL/ HaitiLibre

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