Haiti: Activists demand probe of sudden death of LGBTQ rights defender

LGBTQ activists are demanding a thorough investigation of the sudden death of Charlot Jeudy, the most prominent defender of LGBTQ rights in Haiti.

Charlot Jeudy (David Nieto photo courtesy of UN / MINUJUSTH)

Sadness and dismay were the first responses of the International Association of Gay, Lesbian, Bi and Trans in Latin America and the Caribbean (ILGALAC).

“We are asking the police and the Haitian government to investigate in great depth the circumstances of this suspicious death,” ILGALAC stated.

Read the ILGALAC press release below.

Loop Haiti reported:

The main defender of the LGBTQ community in Haiti, Charlot Jeudy, was found dead in his home on Monday. The circumstances surrounding this death remain unclear, said journalist Amelie Baron on Twitter. The news was relayed by the correspondent of Agence France Presse (AFP) in Haiti, Amelie Baron.

“Charlot Jeudy, Haiti’s most energetic LGBTI activist, was killed yesterday,” the journalist said, adding that the circumstances of her death are still unclear. “This is terrible news for the community and more broadly for human rights defenders in the country,” said the permanent correspondent of Radio France Internationale (RFI).

Aged 34, Charlot Jeudy is recognized in Haiti for his commitment to promoting and defending the rights of the LGBT community through the Kouraj organization. Founded on December 18, 2011, the organization’s mission is to “bring into public space, the issue of homophobia and transphobia.”

“Whether they are accepted or not, the masisi [gays]and the madivin [lesbians] are citizens of the Republic of Haiti,” Jeudy said in August 2018, in an interview with the communications office of the U.N. mission in Haiti.

The activist stated in this interview that his organization is also working with the international community to make treaties and conventions a reality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people in the country.

In an Aug. 8 report covering the last 3 years, the organization Kouraj reported 21 cases of violence against LGBTIQ people including a case of murder.

“Some are attacked to discover their homosexuality. Two of them say they have been for having their picture taken for the MasiMadi Festival. Three reported receiving death threats. Others said […] that their relatives threatened to burn them alive. Five (5) say they have been assaulted, statements are confirmed by medical certificates […], “reads the document.

Logo of International Gay, Lesbian, Bi and Trans Association in Latin America and the Caribbean (ILGALAC).

Here is the ILGALAC communiqué about Jeudy’s death:

ILGALAC dismayed and saddened by the death of Charlot JEUDY, one of the most preeminent defenders of LGBTI rights in Haiti and the Caribbean

ILGALAC has learned with great sadness of the death of Charlot JEUDY, one of the greatest defenders of LGBTI rights in Haiti and the Caribbean. The circumstances of his death are very vague: the president of the association KOURAJ was found inanimate at his home. Feces were found on his bed. His relatives suspect poisoning.

We call on the police and the Haitian government to thoroughly investigate the circumstances of this suspicious death. If it is confirmed that Charlot JEUDY was murdered, we ask that the perpetrators of this homophobic crime be identified quickly and sentenced to an exemplary sentence.

The Republic of Haiti must show that it refuses to kill its citizens because of their sexual orientation and their commitment to the rights of LGBTI people. The death of Charlot JEUDY is a very heavy loss for the LGBTI movement in Haiti as in our entire region of Latin America-Caribbean.

We strongly urge the Haitian state to protect other LGBTI rights defenders in Haiti: one more death would be one more death for LGBTI people. We are extremely saddened by the death of Charlot JEUDY who, if he had obtained his visa for Colombia, should have participated in the conference about homophobia and transphobia in Latin America and the Caribbean that was held this week in Colombia. He could have alerted the Independent Expert of the United Nations (UN) on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Victor MADRIGAL-BORLOZ of the worsening situation in Haiti.

In a report published on August 8th, Charlot JEUDY pointed out that there had been 21 cases of violence against LGBTI people in Haiti over the past three years.

We gave that information to Mr. MADRIGAL-BORLOZ but he unfortunately did not have time to discuss with him the particularly serious situation in Haiti.

ILGALAC this week held the first French-language session of the history of its regional conferences.

The Gay Attitude Guyana, KAP CARAÏBE and Le Refuge Guyane associations were able to participate in this international conference but not the Haitian associations because it was extremely difficult for LGBTI rights activists and Haitian activists, despite our help, to be able to obtain a visa to travel to  Colombia to participate in our international conference.

The death of Charlot JEUDY illustrates the tragic findings discussed during the French session with the UN Independent Expert: the French-speaking Caribbean is an area that remains too marked by homophobia and violence against LGBTI people. The French-speaking associations that participated in the Bogotá Regional Conference – Gay Attitude Guyane, KAP CARAÏBE and Le Refuge Guyane – support this release and associate themselves with the pain felt after the death of Charlot JEUDY. We wish to pay tribute to Charlot JEUDY, the greatest LGBTI activist in Haiti.

Logo of Kouraj, the LGBTQ rights organization founded by Charlot Jeudy

His actions, his courage and strength of conviction have made it possible to fight decisively against homophobia and transphobia in Haiti. The KOURAJ association had already been threatened in 2013 when three armed men forced their way into the premises, ransacked it and threatened Charlot JEUDY: he had nevertheless continued his fight against homophobia and transphobia. The KOURAJ association provided legal, social and psychological support to LGBTI people in Haiti. It also worked on the prevention of HIV and sexually transmitted diseases.

In partnership with the United Nations Mission for the Support of Justice in Haiti (UNMIJUSTH), KOURAJ has educated more than 3,000 Haitians about issues of gender and sexual identities. It also helped LGBTI youth emancipate themselves economically, the latter being frequently excluded from their families when their homosexuality was discovered. Charlot JEUDY was the president and founder of Kouraj, so his death is an inestimable loss. We offer our most sincere condolences to his family and members of the association.

  • Pedro PARADISO SOTTILE, Executive Director of ILGALAC

Written by Colin Stewart

Colin Stewart is a 45-year journalism veteran living in Southern California. After his retirement from paid newspaper work in 2011, he launched Erasing 76 Crimes and helped with the Spirit of 76 campaign that assembled a multi-national team of 26 LGBTI rights activists to advocate for change during the International AIDS Conference in Washington, D.C., in July 2012. He is the president of the St. Paul’s Foundation for International Reconciliation, which supports LGBTQ+ rights advocacy journalism, including the Erasing 76 Crimes news site and the African Human Rights Media Network. Contact him via Twitter @76crimes or by email at info@76crimes.com. Mailing address: 21 Marseille, Laguna Niguel CA 92677 USA.

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