Friday, October 12, 2007


New York Solidarity Coalition with Katrina & Rita Survivors

2217–23 Frederick Douglas Boulevard Suite 2F
New York, New York 10026
212 969-0049/917 566-4272

For Immediate Release
Contact: (347) 583-5925

International Tribunal on Hurricanes Katrina & Rita “Report Back”

Press Release
Saturday, October 13, 2007
Time: 1:30-4:30pm
at The Thurgood Marshall Academy
200 West 135th St, Manhattan NY

Charges of Genocide, human rights violations and gross mismanagement of the government and its agencies are just some of the abuses victims of hurricanes Katrina & Rita that will examined by examined on October 13, 2007, by the New York Solidarity Coalition with Katrina & Rita Survivors, and supporters as they host a report back and working session on The International Tribunal on hurricanes Katrina & Rita previously held in New Orleans on August 29 2007, the 2nd Anniversary of the storm.

On August 29 through September 2, the International Tribunal convened hosted by the Peoples Hurricane Relief fund which brought together a team of 16 esteemed jurists from nine countries, including Algeria, Brazil, France, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Mexico, South Africa, Venezuela, and the United States, in New Orleans to hear testimony by expert witnesses and survivors of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

After almost 30 hours of testimony ranging from government neglect in 15 areas, police brutality, environmental racism, misappropriation of relief to gentrification, the preliminary findings, announced by Jill Soffiyah Elijah, the Deputy Director of the Criminal Justice Institute at Harvard Law School, stated "It is our view that the US Government has committed crimes against humanity particularly in relation to its failure to maintain functional levees that should have protected the City of New Orleans from flooding….it was the reckless disregard and, in some instances, negligence of the US government, the state of Louisiana and the city of New Orleans that created the devastation we continue to see today.” The final verdict won’t be delivered until December 8, 2007—the second anniversary of the Katrina Survivors' Assembly.

The prosecution team boasted experienced attorneys from well respected legal associations such as NY ACLU, US Human Rights Network, National Conference of Black Lawyers, National Economic and Social Rights Initiative, the Center for Constitutional Rights, the National Lawyers Guild, the Center for Law and Social Justice at Medgar Evers College, the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, the Mississippi Workers Center for Human Rights, the Washington DC Legal Defender, the Mississippi Disaster Relief Coalition, the International Association of Democratic Lawyers, the Legal Empowerment Center and the Louisiana Justice Initiative

The NY Solidarity Coalition with Katrina & Rita Survivors is a conglomeration of many other social justice movements, religious institutions, labor unions and community organizations that came together after the shocking scenes portrayed by the media of our gulf coast brother and sisters left on roof tops for days without food and water, the lack of government response, the criminalization of a people plagued not by the storm but the rising waters produced by the questionable broken levees, the lack of a viable evacuation plan that would have addressed the needs of the poor, elderly and infirm, as well as women and children that led to the death of about 2000 innocent people, with 8000 still missing and hundreds of thousands displaced throughout 48 states including Canada, without the right of return.

This report back session’s aim is to continue to solidify the work and bring together activists from the various struggles to address the issues such as housing as a human right, gentrification, mental health, education and labor (giving credence to the theme “Same Struggles/Different Fronts), to further examine the problems and come up with concrete strategies and solutions to maximize our efforts, but more importantly to let the voice of the survivors be heard, to build stronger levees, and to fight for the right of return.

For more information please contact Brenda Walker 347 583-5925 or Sarah Mahmoud.