Accountability Counsel is supporting the Kolektif Peyizan Viktim Tè Chabè (“the Kolektif”), a collective of hundreds of Haitian farmers displaced by the Caracol Industrial Park (“CIP”), funded by the Inter-American Development Bank (“IDB”) and other international donors as part of reconstruction efforts following Haiti’s devastating earthquake.
In 2011, approximately 3,500 people the lost their livelihoods when they were forced off their land to make way for the large industrial facility in Northeast Haiti. On January 12, 2017, the seventh aniversary of the earthquake, the Kolektif filed a complaint to the Independent Consultation and Investigation Mechanism (“MICI”) to demand accountability and remedy for the IDB’s role in their displacement and the severe harm it has caused to their families.
“I’ve farmed my land for 21 years and was then forced to leave for the construction of this park. I grew black beans, cassava, corn, peanuts and bananas on my land and raise all of my children because of that land. I would hire 100 seasonal workers during our planting seasons. I paid them 150 gourdes a day and two meals. If we had the support we needed to farm our land, we would be doing well. Now that I’ve lost my land, I don’t have a penny.” Elie Josué, who had a plot of 4.5 hectares. Here he is holding a ledger containing the names of the people who worked for him.
The CIP, an export-oriented industrial park, was constructed on 250 hectares of the most fertile agricultural land in the area. The produce cultivated on that land provided the primary source of income, as well as crucial food security, to at least 442 farmers and their families, some of whom had farmed the land for generations. The land also supported cattle, another important source of income and nutrition.
“… the ground of the chosen site is the most fertile in the whole area, even in dry periods. It is also the source of income for many occupants who have no other activity than cultivating this land. Entire families depend on these plots to feed their children and pay school fees, health care costs and reimburse debts. … Culturally, some families have occupied this land for several generations. These occupants have developed natural ties with the land, some nutrition habits. Almost every day and all year long, they draw leaves or vegetables that contribute to their diet.”
Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (2011), Annex 2, p. 8 reporting on the results of public consultation.
In January 2011, those families were displaced from their land with no more than a few days’ notice, in breach of the IDB’s due diligence, consultation and compensation requirements. Although compensation was eventually provided to most families, it was poorly consulted, delayed, and ultimately inadequate to rehabilitate the families’ livelihoods. The vast majority of those displaced are in a worse socio-economic position than prior to displacement and are facing financial and food insecurity.
The families are also concerned about the ongoing lack of information and consultation about the cumulative environmental and social impacts of the CIP on their communities and on their natural resources, including the sensitive coastal mangrove and coral reef ecosystem in Caracol Bay and the Trou du-Nord River. There are also reports of persistent labor code violations at the CIP and strained public resources exacerbated by the influx of CIP workers.
Accountability Counsel, together with partner organizations including the ActionAid federation, is supporting the Kolektif to raise their concerns with the IDB and other stakeholders.
In this video, one of our partner organizations, ActionAid USA, shows the reality of the CIP, including the displacement of Haitian farmers and the poor employment conditions within the park.