For Immediate Release
Riptide Communications, Inc. (212) 260-5000 or Ajamu Baraka (404) 588-9761
Rights Network Condemns FEMA's Move to Evict Katrina Survivors from temporary Housing
Federal Government Set to Repossess Trailers Leaving Thousands Homeless
ATLANTA, Georgia - In response to reports the Federal Emergency Management Agency will repossess temporary housing from survivors of Hurricane Katrina, the US Human Rights Network issued the following statement, which can be attributed to Executive Director, Ajamu Baraka:
It is a sad commentary on our priorities when our government can find billions of dollars to bail out banks but cannot come up with the funds to house families and individuals that were displaced by Hurricane Katrina. To take the most vulnerable victims of Katrina and leave them to fend for themselves is not only unconscionable, it is a violation of the government's obligation under international law to protect people from arbitrary displacement from their homes. Additionally, the status of Katrina victims has been the subject of international scrutiny by both the UN Human Rights Committee in 2006 and the Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination in 2007, and it will be referred to in a report to the Human Rights Council by the UN Special Rapporteur on Racism next month.
Thousands of persons -- not unsurprisingly principally people of color -- are still displaced from their Gulf Coast region home and the federal government has the primary responsibility to provide assistance to these displaced persons throughout the duration of their displacement. The government also has the responsibility to create the conditions that allow displaced persons to either resettle or return to their communities; the government has failed to do both. We call on the Obama Administration to reverse this decision and to commit itself to providing substantive direct support to the victims of this disaster.
It is time to recognize the ongoing situation of Katrina survivors as an issue of basic human rights and ensure that this most vulnerable constituency is protected. The best way to do that is to adhere to our obligations under international law since, clearly, federal law and the federal government continue to fail.