One of Haiti’s most prominent LGBTIQ activists, Jeudy Charlot, was found dead at his home in Pétion-Ville outside of the capital of Port-au-Prince on the morning of Monday, November 25th. The circumstances of his death are still unclear and an autopsy is needed to determine the cause of death.
Jeudy Charlot, affectionately known by many as Charlot, was the Executive Director of KOURAJ, one of the country’s only LGBTIQ organizations and OutRight’s partner in a multi-year project fighting sexual and gender-based violence in Haiti.
While the cause of death has not been verified, OutRight fears that Charlot’s death may have been a hate crime. Charlot had been receiving threatening and anonymous phone calls, yet was determined to continue the fight for LGBTIQ equality.
Jessica Stern, Executive Director of OutRight Action International, commented:
I knew Charlot as a bold LGBTIQ leader and fierce advocate fighting for the rights of his community. Even though the cause of death is yet unconfirmed, we fear it is part of a larger pattern of anti-LGBTIQ violence underway in Haiti, potentially focused on people visible within LGBTIQ organizations. We call on on the police to carry out an immediate, credible and transparent police investigation into the death of Jeudy Charlot. Haiti must protect LGBTIQ people from violence.
FACSDIS, an organization that works to safeguard the rights of the LBTIQ community, is reporting unprecedented violence and attacks against people based on their perceived sexual orientation and gender identity. Four members of FACSDIS were victims of an attack on October 17, 2019, where several members sustained physical injuries.
OutRight received evidence of a further incident: an angry mob threatened at least three members of FACSDIS on November 18.
As a result of these and other attacks, LGBTIQ community members in Haiti are remaining at home, afraid to leave for work or school or to buy groceries, and some members of the community have even sought temporary relocation to flee the violence.
Neish McLean, Caribbean Program Officer at OutRight Action International, commented:
As a part of OutRight’s work with KOURAJ and other partners in Haiti, Charlot and I worked closely together. I’ll remember Charlot for his fierce and unrelenting work to end the violence and discrimination against LGBTIQ people in Haiti. His warm smile and tenacity will be missed deeply. His legacy will live on in the work reflected by the courage and perseverance of those who remain.
Kennedy Carrillo, Caribbean Research Officer at OutRight Action International, commented:
Charlot was one to never be silenced and his tenacity and commitment to the fight for LGBTIQ justice and equality will not be forgotten. Now more than ever we must loudly condemn his death and the continuous attacks on the LGBTIQ community in Haiti.
Every day around the world, LGBTIQ people’s human rights and dignity are abused in ways that shock the conscience. The stories of their struggles and their resilience are astounding, yet remain unknown—or willfully ignored—by those with the power to make change. OutRight Action International, founded in 1990 as the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission, works alongside LGBTIQ people in the Global South, with offices in six countries, to help identify community-focused solutions to promote policy for a lasting change. We vigilantly monitor and document human rights abuses to spur action when they occur. We train partners to expose abuses and advocate for themselves. Headquartered in New York City, OutRight is the only global LGBTIQ-specific organization with a permanent presence at the United Nations in New York that advocates for human rights progress for LGBTIQ people.