File - Housing and Shelter in Haiti

We need to take account of
what we need to do
“Kay koule ka twonpe solèy, men l paka twonpe
Jean Baptiste Azolin
George Washington University
24 November 2014
Article 22 of the Haitian Constitution (not
changed in the amended constitution):
“ The State recognizes that all the country’s
citizens have the right to good housing”
Universal Declaration of Human Rights
references these rights
More than 12 UN texts recognizes the right
for people to live in quality housing.
Globally, housing needs to have the following
Adequate privacy
Enough space for people to move around
A good system of security
Quality electricity/ lighting
Enough openings for air circulation
All basic infrastructure
The area is not too far from people’s work
All services that are important in people’s lives
It shouldn’t be too expensive.
We can’t continue to live in these conditions wherein
everyday all our essential rights as people and as
communities are disrespected
Everyone needs to struggle against eviction and we
demand reparatoins for everyone who was a victim of
forced eviction.
The Haitian government, dominant classes and
international institutions don’t respond to housing
problems of millions of Haitians for a long time that was
made worse in January 12, 2010
We reject these false “photocopy” solutions (T-shelters
that don’t solve the question, that don’t really protect
our lives and that don’t respect our dignity and the way
our families used to live).
We resolve to continue the struggle to force
the state to define a global policy on housing
that guarantees the right of all Haitians to
have a home to live in that respects their
dignity as people.
The government must define a land use policy for the
country. We must not forget that this has been poorly
defined since long before January 12. Before the
earthquake, 80% of the population in Port-au-Prince was
living in 20% of the land.
The Parliament must draft and vote on a law to guarantee
the right to housing in this nation, as outlined in Article 22
of the Haitian Constitution of 1987, as well as in the
International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural
This law must define the codes that all people must
respect for housing construction (soil, materials, distance,
basic services, environment, aesthetics, etc.).
The government must look for and acquire land though
expropriation [eminent domain] so that there is sufficient
space to respond to the housing needs of the population.
The population must participate in decision-making regarding
where new houses and neighborhoods are being constructed. We
have to say what Port-au-Prince we want to build.
The government must immediately create a special fund to
finance public housing. There is a lot of money being wasted
that could be invested instead to respect the population’s right
to housing. MINUSTAH’s budget for only 12 months could allow
the construction of more than 77,000 houses and give nearly
400,000 people respectable homes to live in.
Homes and land are the source of life that allow people to live,
grow, be safe, and help families to reproduce. They aren’t
merchandise to make money for the few.
The government must hurry so that everyone with limited means
can get housing that respects their human dignity.
The government must implement rent control, since rents have
skyrocketed and [sometimes] must be paid in US dollars
The government must guarantee our security as to where we live
The right to housing cannot be separated from our other rights:
the right to work, the right to health, the right to education, the
right to leisure, the right to a clean environment, etc.
We ask the Haitian Parliament to ratify the International Covenant
on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, as a tool that can
strengthen our struggle to defend our rights.
In house construction, they must plan for public spaces.
Create village communities where each family has its own space
and the community has space for collective activities. We believe
that cooperative housing is a viable alternative.
We want houses that respect our local architectural style and that
use as much local materials as possible. We must defend our
local architectural heritage.
Corruption in the State, NGOs, and IHRC needs to stop.
Special activities for children must be developed. In every
neighborhood there needs to be space to help us build our
collective memory as a people.
In housing built and collective infrastructure
we need to remember the rights of people
with disabilities and facilitate their free
movement in everyday life
All housing construction needs to give a
special attention to women’s rights.
Projects need to consider children’s needs
“A poor person isn’t a dog”
“It’s her/his right to live like a person”
“It’s the state’s responsibility to help her/his
live like a person”
Thank you very much

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