[News] New Orleans - PHRF Condemns Recovery Czar Ed Blakely and Mayor Ray Nagin

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Wed Apr 11 14:08:26 EDT 2007

PHRF Condemns Recovery Czar Edward Blakely and 
Mayor Nagin; Demands Blakely be fired immediately.

The People's Hurricane Relief Fund (PHRF) demands 
that Mayor Ray Nagin and the City Council fire 
Edward Blakely for his demeaning statements and 
plans denying the basic rights and dignity of the 
people of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast. 
"Blakely's statements in the New York Times 
yesterday, were totally inexcusable", say's Kali 
Akuno, PHRF Executive Director.  "It is clear 
that he was brought here merely to finish the 
ethnic cleansing of New Orleans by making no 
provision in his plans for the Black working 
class majority that was and is the heart of New Orleans".

PHRF strongly condemns Blakely's gentrification 
and displacement schemes for the redevelopment of 
New Orleans that only favor the developers and 
corporate profiteers. We further condemn Mayor 
Ray Nagin and the City Council for tolerating and 
approving his schemes. The privatization of the 
very office and position of Edward Blakely must 
also be condemned. Mayor Nagin should not have 
followed the footsteps of Governor Blanco and set 
up a private entity to manage and contract out 
public funds.  These extralegal institutions and 
initiatives are wholly undemocratic and nepotistic.

Moreover Blakely slanders those of us who 
advocate the right to return for all those who 
want to return.  Blakely claims we are "using 
people" for political ends.  To the contrary it 
is the capitalist developers that Blakely 
represents who are using the people, by refusing 
to provide affordable housing; by refusing to 
open up the public housing projects and by 
refusing to grant any direct aid to the more than 
50% of the New Orleans population that were 
renters.  These actions are in place to 
facilitate a grand land theft from Black working 
class homeowners and to change New Orleans into a white majority city.

The Right of Return is a fundamental human right 
enshrined in several international treaties that 
the United States Government is a party to. The 
United States Agency of International Development 
(USAID) articulates the clearest statement and 
support of this human right by the Federal 
Government in its "Assistance to Internally 
Displaced Persons Policy". Produced in October 
2004 the report states, "USAID's interest in 
internal displacement is driven by humanitarian 
and development concerns as well as political and 
security considerations" (Summary, Page V). 
Further it states, "USAID advocates that IDP's 
should be granted the full security and 
protection provided for under applicable norms of 
international human rights law, international 
humanitarian law, and national law" (Summary Page 
VI). This policy statement can be located online 
at <http://www.usaid.gov/>www.usaid.gov (search 
Internally Displaced Persons Policy).

Edward Blakely, Mayor Ray Nagin, the New Orleans 
City Council, and all the branches of Government 
interfacing with Katrina and Rita related IDP's 
must be held accountable to the standards 
outlined in the Assistance to Internally 
Displaced Persons Policy and the Guiding 
Principles on Internal Displacement. To hold the 
US government accountable to these and many other 
human rights laws and policies, PHRF and a broad 
range of Gulf Coast community, civil, and human 
rights organizations will conduct an 
International Tribunal on Hurricanes Katrina and 
Rita August 29th – September 2nd, 2007.

In the interests of accountability and 
restorative justice, we demand that Blakely be 
fired immediately for his blatant disregard for 
the human rights of the displaced.


To read Ed Blakely's comments see:

New York Times

April 10, 2007

Steering New Orleans's Recovery With a Clinical Eye


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