UN Delegation on Extreme Poverty and Stephen Bradberry to Discuss Survivors’ Rights in Baton Rouge
For Immediate Release
New Orleans ACORN Lead Organizer Stephen Bradberry and UN Independent Expert Dr. Arjun Sengupta to discuss international law and the rights of hurricane survivors from New Orleans
United Nations Independent Expert on Human Rights and Extreme Poverty, Dr. Arjun Sengupta, will meet with Stephen Bradberry, an economic rights activist and Lead Organizer of the New Orleans Office of the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) and members of the ACORN Katrina Survivors Association (AKSA) on October 28th, 2005 at 3:30 at Unitarian Church of Baton Rouge (8470 Goodwood Boulevard) to discuss problems now faced by the New Orleans's displaced poor. A press conference will immediately follow the discussion.
“The people of New Orleans want to come home and rebuild their communities,” says Steve Bradberry. “International law—specifically the ‘UN Guidelines on Internal Displacement’—says that the city’s dislocated residents have a right to return, and to have a voice in the recovery process. But under current policies, these rights are not being respected.”
Bradberry also points out that, “In order to have a voice, low and moderate income families must have access to their own neighborhoods, temporary shelter near their homes, and first access to jobs in the reconstruction process, under fair wages and conditions.”
Dr. Sengupta and his UN delegation, at the invitation of the US government, will meet with government officials and civic leaders, like Mr. Bradberry, to study how high levels of poverty have come to exist in the United States, a highly advanced industrialized economy. His visit from October 23rd to November 8th 2005 will include visits to migrant worker camps in Immokalee, FL, the devastated communities of the Gulf Coast and a visit next week to Capitol Hill.
Since Hurricane Katrina hit, Stephen Bradberry has worked tirelessly to coordinate help for those affected by the storm from ACORN’s temporary headquarters in Baton Rouge. ACORN is the nation's largest community organization of low- and moderate-income families working together for social justice and stronger communities.
Through organizing the ACORN Katrina Survivors Association (AKSA), Bradberry hopes to unite survivors spread across the country to have a real say in how their communities are rebuilt. He is working to assure New Orleans poor have a right to return to their city, the means to take care of themselves and that their concerns are treated with fairness and dignity.
Even before disaster struck New Orleans, Bradberry had much experience in motivating political action to address the everyday problems affecting the low income communities of New Orleans through public interest campaigns targeted at promoting a living wage, preventing lead poisoning in children, giving parents a say in local schools, preventing predatory lending, and increasing voter participation.
In recognition for his efforts, Bradberry will be awarded the 2005 Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award by the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial on November 16th, 2005 and the 2005 Court TV “Unexpected Hero Award” on November 17th, 2005.
Dr. Arjun Sengupta is the Independent Expert of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights on the question of human rights and extreme poverty. In its resolution 1998/25, the UN Commission on Human Rights, deeply concerned that extreme poverty continued to spread throughout the world, regardless of economic, social or cultural situations, decided to appoint an independent expert on the question of human rights and extreme poverty.
Dr. Sengupta’s role is to evaluate the relationship between the promotion and protection of human rights and extreme poverty in areas affected by extreme poverty by meeting with local officials, civic leaders, and members of the media and to make recommendations on how to eliminate such poverty. Dr. Sengupta’s analysis of US poverty will be presented to the UN in the Spring of 2006.
Bradberry hopes the meeting will garner UN support for New Orleans’ working poor communities as they try to recover from this tragedy. “Louisiana ACORN, the nationwide ACORN Katrina Survivors Association, and our labor and community allies are fighting to rebuild a viable community, where people can return and prosper,” says Bradberry.
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