1,758 Families Forced off Their Lands in Artibonite

What is affected
Type of violation Forced eviction
Date 01 January 2004
Region LAC [ Latin America/Caribbean ]
Country Haiti
Location Artibonite Department

Affected persons

Total 8700
Men 0
Women 0
Children 0
Proposed solution
Details FIAN_UA_Haiti04.doc
Forced eviction

Duty holder(s) /responsible party(ies)

Brief narrative Extract from: "HAITI: FORCIBLE EVICTION OF PEASANT FAMILIES, ARTIBONITE" FIAN International Urgent Action (http://www.fian.org/cases/letter-campaigns/haiti-forcible-eviction-of-peasant-families-artibonite)
"During the first term of René Préval, at the beginning of 1997, the Haitian Government distributed 17 State lands to thousands of landless families in the Artibonite department. Each family got on average one hectare under a tenancy contract subject to the payment of a symbolic rent. Almost every family used the land to grow rice.

When in 2004, after Aristide’s term in office, the Prime Minister of the transition Government stated that the agrarian reform was not a political priority for him, the local landowners invaded four of these lands (Bertrand, Lespenche, Boussac, Timonette) and brutally evicted 1,200 peasant families that lived and worked in these lands. According to witnesses, landowners arrived there with private forces supported by the police. Since then, peasant families, most of them living today in Bocozelle, fifth section of Saint Marc, have not been able to return to their lands, which were their means of livelihood, due to the landowner’s threats. Thus the food situation of the peasant families has been very difficult since the eviction in 2004. Nowadays, they are affiliated to the Peasant Movement for Justice in the Artibonite (MOREPLA).

Statements by MOREPLA match up with what partners of the cooperative association CODEL have reported in the municipality of L’Estère, also located in the Artibonite department. These families also got state lands in 1997 and used them to grow rice. Likewise, peasant families of Saint Marc lost them in 2004 due to the violent eviction carried out by the gunmen sent by the landowners. Now, 588 peasant families have been evicted and since they lost their lands in 2004, they have no more means of livelihood.

Peasants of both places denounced the forcible loss of their lands to the National Institute of Agrarian Reform (INARA). Moreover, they claimed in several public demonstrations that the Government should assume the responsibility. But to date government authorities seem not to have taken any action to restore the rights of the peasant families."
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