Activist Jeudy Charlot Found Dead Of Possible Poisoning

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Human rights advocates and the LGBTQ community in Haiti are mourning the sudden death of respected activist Jeudy Charlot.

According to the Associated Press, Jeudy’s body was found in his Port-au-Prince, Haiti home on Monday. His death is currently under investigation, and early reports state that the activist had been poisoned. Though, that information has yet to be confirmed by police.

As the Virgin Islands Daily writes:

“Jeudy’s brother, who asked not to be identified for fear of repercussions, said he and Jeudy were together around 5 p.m. Sunday. After they parted, Jeudy received a phone call and went to meet someone near the Champ de Mars, the brother said. On Monday morning, a nephew called him and said Jeudy was still in bed and would not wake up.

‘I shook him, turned him around, nothing,’ the brother said.

The brother said the family wants the police to take the death seriously and to carry out an investigation. They are also seeking an autopsy. ‘I always told him to be careful because Haiti is not like other countries,’ the brother said.”

No matter how he died, Jeudy’s death has come as a deep blow to LGBTQ people within Haiti. Jeudy Charlot, who was simultaneously known as Charlot Jeudy, was the leader of Kouraj. Kouraj is one of the nation’s only LGBTQ organizations. The group worked together with the United Nations last year on the goal of reducing discrimination and anti-LGBTQ violence in Haiti.

“Charlot Jeudy’s death profoundly saddens us,” said the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association for Latin America and the Caribbean (ILGALAC) in a press release.

“We call upon the Haitian police and government to investigate the circumstances of this suspicious death,” the organization later added.

OutRight Action International Executive Director Jessica Stern also released a statement about the death. In the press release, Stern shared how she “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,” said Stern. “We call 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.”

Indeed, Haiti has a spotty history of how it handles LGBTQ people. The social climate within the nation is challenging for LGBTQ people. While same-sex sexual activity is legal, transgender people can be fined for violating a broadly written vagrancy law. In addition, the public opinion on LGBTQ people and their rights is fairly negative. Because of this, there are many incidences of anti-LGBT street violence.

With the death of Jeudy Charlot now hanging in the air, perhaps talk of LGBTQ rights and protections will spring up from this tragic event.

Sources: The Associated Press, the Washington Blade, CBC, The Virgin Islands Daily

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