Friday, February 29, 2008

Positive Developments Regarding the Housing Struggle in New Orleans

Free the Land,

Positive development regarding the housing struggle and the right of return to New Orleans and the Gulf Coast.

This is a product of the work of the US Human Rights Network (USHRN) delegation to the UN Committee to Eliminate Racial Discrimination (CERD) last week in Geneva. The Katrina/IDP delegation including myself representing the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement (and PHRF), Mayaba Liebenthal form Critical Resistance (CR) and INCITE! Women of Color Against Violence, Monique Harden from Advocates from Environmental Human Rights (AEHR), Brenda Stokely from NYC Katrina Solidarity Committee, and Katie Schwartzmann from the ACLU-NO.

See USHRN Director, Ajamu Baraka on the Tavis Smiley show at

In the face of the demolition of the St. Bernard Housing Development the forces fighting for the right to return are having to regroup and restrategize. But, the struggle continues and will continue to need the support of progressive forces throughout the empire and the world.

In Unity and Struggle,

Thu, 28 Feb 08 15:02:51 EST

UN News Centre: UN experts call for protection of housing rights of Hurricane Katrina victims

The article below has been sent to you by from the UN News Centre

UN experts call for protection of housing rights of Hurricane Katrina victims – (28 February 2008)

United Nations experts on housing and minority rights today called on the United States Government to halt the demolition of public housing and protect the human rights of African-Americans affected by Hurricane Katrina, which battered New Orleans in 2005.

“We are deeply concerned about information we continue to receive about the housing situation of people in New Orleans, Louisiana and the Gulf Coast region,” Miloon Kothari, the Special Rapporteur on adequate housing as a component of the right to an adequate standard of living, and Gay McDougall, the Independent Expert on minority issues, said in a joint statement.

The demolition of the St. Bernard public housing development started the week of 18 February and the destruction of three other complexes were planned for the near future without meaningful consultation with the communities involved, they said.

Citing reports that there are more than 12,000 homeless people in the greater New Orleans metropolitan area, they said that the demolition of public housing, in combination with the spiralling costs of private housing and rental units, are helping to drive people, primarily African-Americans, into destitution.

“We understand that the new housing will not be available for a significant period of time nor will there be one for one replacement for housing units destroyed,” they said. “These demolitions, therefore, could effectively deny thousands of African-American residents their right to return to housing from which they were displaced by the hurricane.”

Whether or not the demolitions were intentionally discriminatory, “the lack of consultation with those affected and the disproportionate impact on poorer and predominantly African-American residents and former residents would result in the denial of internationally recognized human rights,” they maintained.

The two experts said they sent a letter stating their concerns to the US Government in December 2007.

Special rapporteurs and experts are unpaid, independent specialists who monitor their area of expertise in association with the UN Human Rights Council.

Additional coverage Kali Akuno ( thought you would be interested in this item from

Kali Akuno has sent you a link: "U.N. Experts: Feds, City Forced Blacks Out Of Homes - New Orleans News Story - WDSU New Orleans"

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