Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti

Haiti’s Cholera Victims Seek Justice in Court

This article briefly describes the latest news on the cholera epidemic in Haiti, including the October 23 oral arguments on UN immunity. It includes quotes from Ban Ki-moon, Mario Joseph (BAI Managing Attorney), and Beatrice Lindstrom (IJDH Staff Attorney who argued on behalf of the plaintiffs).

Part of the article is below. Click HERE for the full text.

Haiti Cholera Victims Seek Damages from UN in US Court

Margaret Besheer, Voice of America
October 23, 2014

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon walks out after visiting the house of a cholera victim during the launching of sanitation campaign in Hinche, Haiti, July 14, 2014.

A U.S. District Court judge heard oral arguments Thursday in a lawsuit brought by victims of Haiti’s cholera outbreak, who are seeking compensation from the United Nations.

The plaintiffs blame a contingent of Nepalese peacekeepers for bringing the disease to their nation after the 2010 earthquake.

The suit was filed on behalf of five Haitians and Haitian-Americans whose family members died of the water-borne disease or who were infected with it.

They allege that U.N. peacekeepers who were sent to the country after the devastating 2010 earthquake contaminated a branch of the Artibonite River with cholera. The river is the country’s main water source for tens of thousands of Haitians.

Subsequently more than 8,500 people died of the disease, which can cause severe diarrhea and vomiting, and hundreds of thousands more were sickened.

The United Nations has never taken responsibility for the crisis and is claiming immunity in this lawsuit.

Mario Joseph of the International Lawyers Bureau in Haiti told reporters the government will not say the U.N. is responsible for the outbreak, and has forbidden public hospitals from giving cholera victims their medical records.
appealed directly to the U.N. chief.

“The United Nations stands for the promotion of human rights for all, and that should include Haitians.  So we ask the secretary-general to listen to Haitians when they ask for justice in this case,” said plaintiffs’ attorney Lindstrom.

The United Nations said it has worked to improve water, sanitation and health in Haiti, and that its efforts are paying off as cholera cases are down 75 percent over last year.

 

Click HERE for the full text.

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