PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti - The mayor of Port-au-Prince began on Friday the relocation of internally displaced persons who had been living at the Sylvio Cator Stadium since the earthquake of January 12 2010.
Approximately 440 families were moved in what was reported by the Agence Haitienne de Presse to be a "well planned" effort that aimed to protect the structurally damaged stadium and allow for its rehabilitation. Mayor Jean Yves Jason Muscadin emphasized that the homeless, if not relocated, could be victims of serious collateral damage during the repair of the stadium.
"Our intention is not to expel them but to protect them," said Mayor Muscadin, who guaranteed the operations would be non-violent.
The displaced were asked to either take refuge with relatives or move into a space built to accommodate them. Muscadin at the launch of these operations, commented on a letter he said was received by Amnesty International with a set of recommendations for the rights of refugees.
Mayor regrets that most human rights organizations are opposed to steps towards a return to normalcy. Though he explained that the recommendations which were to give prior notification to the concerned, to identify and have their consent before and during operations, have been complied with.
The director of the stadium, Rolny St. Louis said he was pleased that the stadium is finally about to be released from its occupants. He said that the presence of victims in the courtyard of the stadium was a violation of the rights of footballers and lovers of the sport. He attacked the non-governmental organizations, he said, who are not interested in solving problems of the earthquake because they allow them to make their butter.
Despite the guarantees given by the mayor, the victims have expressed outrage completely dissatisfied or processes used to make them change their address.
"It's not in these conditions they had to conduct these operations, they put our property on the other side of the fence and we are being ridiculed," said an angry survivor of the earthquake.
A press release from the Office of the President on Wednesday noted that His Excellency spent an afternoon in Port-au-Prince in which he was able to identify appropriate locations in the Metropolitan for the construction of sports and recreation centers for the youth.
Presidential adviser Pierre-Richard Duplan says the government is paying families $250 each to move from the stadium's parking lot. The government wants the lot available for stadium events.
Several squares of the capital which were the few recreational areas available to the population have been occupied by the homeless since January 12, 2010, these spaces should be experience similar operations shortly, officials said.
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