New Threats of Eviction After One Death in Port-au-Prince IDP Camp
By: Etant Dupain, Bri Kouri Nouvèl Gaye
The Orphe Shadda Camp has been under threat of eviction since July 2010. Camp Shadda can be found on Delmas 1 across from Delmas 5 adjacent to the Toyota HINOTO S.A. establishment. It is a camp with 200 families that have lived there since the earthquake on January 12, 2010. The victims are accustomed to receiving visits each day from Jean Mark Saliba who says he is the landowner and one of the owners of HINOTO S.A.
When I met with the people who are living in the camp, they explained to me, “We want to go and leave this land because this is not where we lived before January 12, we just want another space where we can go because at the moment we have nowhere else to go.”
The president of the camp committee, Terrier Merion explained how the security agents of HINOTO S.A. always come to give the victims of January 12th pressure on the land to force them to go, but they always discuss this with them and don’t let them put them out of the land in any way.
On the day of May 12, 2011 one of the men who represents the land owner, and who is chief of security, named Rosevelt Cheri, showed up with 4 security agents who were wearing uniforms from HINOTO S.A. They came with a padlock and a chain to close the only gate to enter the camp and prevent the displaced people from entering or leaving. It was 8 am in the morning when this representative, Jean Mark Saliba arrived in the camp where people had started to resist. One of the security agents from HINOTO S.A. hit Thelucia Ciffren in her head. Thelucia was a 51-year-old mother of three. When they hit Thelucia, she fell on the spot and began to bleed, and then she died a few minutes later while they were bringing her to the hospital.
The people in the camp were very angry and so they held the three security agents from HINOTO S.A. who had accompanied Rosevelt Cherie, the representative of supposed landowner Jean Mark Saliba. They handed them over to the police when they arrived and Rosevelt Cherie was saved because he hid after the crime was committed.
After three days when Walies Jean Baptiste, the husband of Thelucia Ciffren, went to bring a complaint with the justice system, to demand justice for his wife, the security agents had already been released. They retuned to work even before the funeral for Thelucia was held.
Walies Jean Baptiste explained, “I felt humiliated in my own country because I have already been the victim of a natural catastrophe. And now I am continuing to be a victim of injustice under the hand of the landowner and the Haitian state which doesn’t respect the rights of internally displaced people.”
Walies Jean Baptiste and his three children, accompanied by several hundred others from the camp, organized a sit-in at the HINOTO S.A. building. They protested and showed how frustrated they are to see the same criminals who killed someone from their camp free and working. As a response to this demonstration, Jean Mark Saliba who is one of the owners of HINOTO S.A., and who claims to be the owner of the land where the victims are living, came into the camp on June 3, 2011. Accompanied by the police, a representative of the Port-au-Prince courthouse, and 2 justices of the peace, and he gave the people eight days to leave the camp despite the fact that these people don’t know where else to go.
Walies Jean Baptiste is asking for justice and reparations for the death of his wife at the hands of the HINOTO S.A. security on May 12, 2011. He is asking the Haitian government to give them another place to go so they won’t continue to be victims at the hands of Jean Mark Saliba who promised the people he would put them out without any resources.
To contact people in the Camp Orphe Shadda, call Walies Jean Baptiste at +509-3667-6348 and Terrier Merion at +509-3774-0269, president of the camp.