Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti

IADL Passes Resolution on Cholera in Haiti

The International Association of Democratic Lawyers passed this resolution, below, at its 18th Congress in Brussels.


The General Assembly of the International Association of Democratic Lawyers (IADL), at its 18th Congress, in Brussels, Belgium, having considered the devastation wrought on the people of Haiti by a deadly cholera epidemic and the subsequent denial of their basic human right to a remedy:

1. Recalls that cholera was introduced to Haiti in October 2010 by peacekeepers serving in the United Nations Mission for the Stabilisation of Haiti (MINUSTAH) as a result of inadequate sanitation at the peacekeepers’ camp and the reckless disposal of untreated sewage into a tributary of Haiti’s largest river system;

2. Recalls that over eight thousand five hundred people have died and seven hundred thousand others have been infected since the outbreak began;

3. Recalls that millions of Haitians remain at risk of death and disease while the epidemic continues unabated;

4. Recalls that the IADL has urged the UN to accept responsibility for the outbreak, compensate victims for their losses, and invest in clean water and sanitation to reduce the impact of the current crisis and prevent future outbreaks of waterborne disease;

5. Recalls that the legal protections provided by the Convention on the Privileges and Immunities of the United Nations (CPIUN) shall serve no purpose other than to ensure that the UN is able to promote peace and international security free from the threat of intimidation;

6. Expresses profound concern over the UN’s attempt to abuse the aforementioned legal protections to hold itself above the law;

7. Strongly condemns the UN’s refusal to review claims from the cholera victims concerning the physical, emotional, and financial harms they have suffered;

8. Recognizes that by refusing to establish a standing claims commission or other alternative settlement mechanism, the UN has breached the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) it signed with the Government of Haiti in 2004; and further that it has violated the cholera victims’ fundamental right to a remedy as defined in Article 2(3) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and Article 8 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights;

9. Expresses its full support for national courts in their willingness to accept jurisdiction of lawsuits filed against the UN as a consequence of its breach of the SOFA; and that the UN must act immediately in fulfilling its legal and moral obligations to the people of Haiti.


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