The AP reports on the Haitian government's plans to relocate the 1.2 million displaced by the earthquake. While the government does own some land, it will not be enough, forcing the government to appropriate privately held land. As the AP reports:
The decision, announced in an interview with The Associated Press, is potentially explosive in a country where a small elite owns most of the land in and around the capital.
That elite, a traditionally corrupting force in Haitian politics, has the power to bring down the government.
In order to decongest the existing camps and relocate people from unsafe areas, it is necessary that more suitable and appropriate land be made available for humanitarian relief efforts. In this regard, one obstacle is that much of the land which could be used for such efforts is privately owned. The requisition or expropriation of private property for the public interest, in situations such as these, when accompanied by due process and fair compensation is permitted by international law. The Haitian constitution also provides for such measures.
With the rainy season fast approaching, it is imperative that steps are taken immediately to provide adequate shelter for all those displaced, as is their right.
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