Jeudy Charlot, one of Haiti’s most prominent LGBTIQ activists, was found dead at his home in Pétion-Ville, outside of the capital of Port-au-Prince, on Monday morning, Nov. 25, according to officials with OutRight Action International, an international LGBTQ rights organization.
The circumstances of his death are still unclear, OutRight officials said, “and an autopsy is needed to determine the cause of death.”
Charlot was executive director of KOURAJ, one of Haiti’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 yet been determined, “OutRight fears that Charlot’s death may have been a hate crime,” a press statement from OutRight noted, adding that “Charlot had been receiving threatening and anonymous phone calls, yet was determined to continue the fight for LGBTIQ equality.”
OutRight Executive Director Jessica Stern said, “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 the police to carry out an immediate, credible and transparent investigation into the death of Jeudy Charlot,” she continued. “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 Oct. 17.”
OutRight also has evidence of other incidents, including on Nov. 18 when “an angry mob threatened at least three members of FACSDIS,” according to the press release. “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, said, “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.”
And Kennedy Carrillo, Caribbean research officer at OutRight Action International, described Charlot as “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.”