Wednesday, November 17, 2010

UN Advisory Group Finds Human Rights Violations in Lower Mid-City

The Advisory Group on Forced Evictions, an advisory group to UN Habitat, released a report today that finds what it determined to be human rights violations in the forced displacements in Lower Mid-City:

"The AGFE mission uncovered five instances of forced evictions and displacement in
violation of human rights..."

"Instances, Causes and Effects on Residents of Forced Evictions and Related Human Rights Violations"

"In November 2008, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and Louisiana State University announced the selection of the Lower Mid-City community for the site of their new hospital system. If built, the new hospitals would destroy the historic neighborhood around Charity Hospital, where residents have been rebuilding and restoring their homes and community since Hurricane Katrina.  During the tour of Lower Mid- City, AGFE mission members met with several homeowners who had spent their life savings restoring their houses after the storm.  These residents are now facing displacement through eminent domain as the city moves forward with plans to destroy their homes and turn their community into a medical corridor.  The residents, along with a majority of New Orleans citizens, have been urging city officials to reopen the pre-existing Charity Hospital instead.  The community hired an independent architecture firm, RMJM, to evaluate their proposal to reopen Charity, which the firm hailed as a viable option.  The city has yet to meaningfully engage the community on this issue. 
The AGFE team attempted to discuss the decision-making process around the displacement of the Lower Mid-City community and continued closure of Charity Hospital with city officials.  A representative from the New Orleans City Council refused to discuss the matter with AGFE and instead had the City Council attorney provide us with a formal email that provided the team with no information on this matter (see Appendix 4)"

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