We watch an aged man pull his cart out of Sylvio Cator Stadium’s back gate, maneuvering it precariously between a parked car and a steep gutter. His cart is heavy and stacked high with wood, tarp, and the bare essentials of his life. He pulls the cart behind him, muscles and bones protruding from the strain.
This man is one of the last evictees to leave Sylvio Cator Stadium in downtown Port-au-Prince, the site that has been home to thousands of people displaced by last year’s earthquake. The government is set on using the stadium for a soccer game in early August, and on July 18, the mayor of Port-au-Prince unlawfully evicted the last of the residents living in the Stadium’s parking lot, forcing many onto the streets, into other camps, or into hazardous structures in danger of collapsing from earthquake damage.
While the Mayor’s office touts the closure of the camp as a success, the eviction at Sylvio Cator stadium was carried out in violation of Haitian and international law. Mayor Jean-Yves Jason appeared at the stadium with armed police less than a week earlier to inform residents that they would have to leave their homes imminently. He held a few closed meetings with select members of the camp committee, but did not permit other residents to participate in the planning and relocation, as mandated by the UN Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement. The eviction was also carried out without a judicial order, which is required under Haitian law. Moreover, in November 2010, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights instructed state actors to take measures to protect the rights to the displaced against forced evictions, but none of these were heeded. CONTINUE ARTICLE