Mario Joseph, BAI, firstname.lastname@example.org; (011) 509 3701 9879 (in Haiti, speaks French and Creole)
Nicole Phillips, IJDH, email@example.com; (011) 509 4730 3359 (in Haiti, speaks English and French)
Brian Concannon, IJDH, firstname.lastname@example.org ; 541 263 0029 (in U.S., speaks English, French and Creole
Demonstration on December 10, Human Rights Day:
Human Rights Groups Demand the UN Prove that Human Rights Are For All, Even Haitians
Monday, December 10, Port-au-Prince, Haiti – In observance of Human Rights Day, Haitian grassroots organizations Fanm Rezo BAI (Women’s Network of BAI) and MOLEGHAF (Movement for Liberty and Equality by Haitians for Fraternity) will ask the United Nations to provide victims of cholera with reparations at a demonstration in front of the UN logistics base in Port-au-Prince. The demonstration is scheduled to start at 10 a.m.
Cholera was introduced to Haiti in October 2010 as a result of poor UN sanitation practices that allowed untreated human waste from soldiers deployed from a cholera-endemic country to leak into Haiti’s central river system. In November 2011, 5,000 victims of cholera filed claims with the UN seeking: a) compensation for their injuries, b) provision of water and sanitation infrastructure adequate to eliminate cholera, and c) a public apology.
Groups in Haiti are demanding that their government, as well as the UN, recognize their rights to water and health, and stop the epidemic that has killed over 7,700 Haitians and sickened over 600,000.
“You always have human rights, they die with you. No one gives them to you,” said Francoise Moise, Secretary-General of KONAMAVID (National Coordination of Direct Victims), an organization of victims of sexual violence and Fanm Rezo BAI member who will be at the demonstration. Moise added, “we demand justice to victims of cholera. We see people in the streets that we can’t help. We ask the UN to take responsibility for cholera that its troops sent to Haiti.”
David Oxygene, a leader of grassroots organization MOLEGHAF, denounced the UN troops who “came to Haiti with a sickness that Haiti had never had before, and are violating Haitians’ human right to health and water.” Oxygen also called upon the Haitian government to “serve the interests of the Haitian people, not just the elite,” and do more to assist cholera victims. “The laws are violated here, the right to housing, health, education, to work, which are protected in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. We don’t have any of the rights we are supposed to.”
At the Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti (IJDH), together with our Haitian affiliate, the Bureau des Avocats Internationaux (BAI), we fight for the human rights of Haiti’s poor.We represent victims of injustice, including earthquake victims, victims of gender-based violence, and the unjustly imprisoned. Visit haitijustice.org. Follow @IJDH on Twitter.