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AEHR Media Coverage

April 15, 2007
Letter to the Editor: Home to New Orleans, New York Times

link to original article

To the Editor:
An April 10 news article praises Edward J. Blakely, the executive director of New Orleans's Office of Recovery Management, for having a ''clinical, outsider's eye'' when in fact his eye is blind to the human rights of New Orleanians displaced by Hurricane Katrina.

According to the United Nations Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement, people forced to flee their communities as a result of a natural disaster are ''internally displaced persons'' who have the human right to return to their communities.

In your article, Dr. Blakely pointedly denounces the right of return, describes New Orleanians as ''buffoons'' whose culture is rife with racism, and hopes that ''new Americans'' will replace New Orleanians trapped outside the city.

History has shown that violating the human rights of a group of people begins with disparaging their character, expressing contempt for their culture and portraying them as unworthy of the places they live.

Dr. Blakely's recovery agenda denigrates the humanity of people struggling to find a way home to New Orleans.

Monique Harden
Nathalie Walker
New Orleans, April 11, 2007

The writers are co-directors of Advocates for Environmental Human Rights.

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Advocates for Environmental Human Rights

832 Topaz Street
New Orleans, Louisiana 70124-3628
Tel. 504.799.3060
Fax 504.799.3061

Campaign & Policy Office:
1730 M Street, NW, Suite 412
Washington, DC 20036
Tel. 202-775-0055
Fax 202-293-7110

Monique Harden
Co-Director & Attorney
mharden@ehumanrights.org

Nathalie Walker
Co-Director & Attorney
nwalker@ehumanrights.org

Michele Roberts
Campaign & Policy Coordinator
mroberts@ehumanrights.org