This blog post by IJDH Staff Attorney Beatrice Lindstrom describes the fight for justice for Haiti’s cholera victims from filing claims with the United Nations in 2011, to the hearing about UN immunity this year. Through the Cholera Justice Network, which includes everyone from our supporters to political leaders, we have slowly but surely pushed the UN towards a just response to the epidemic.
Part of the post is below. Click HERE for the full text.
FROM HAITIAN VILLAGES TO US COURTS: THE MOVEMENT TO SECURE JUSTICE FOR HAITIAN SURVIVORS OF UN CHOLERA
Beatrice Lindstrom, Bertha Justice Initiative Blog
December 4, 2014
To reach the remote village where Jean—a cholera survivor who is one of our clients—is an elected community leader, one must drive past the small town of Meille, a vivid reminder of the events that connected Jean with the Bureau des Avocats Internationaux (BAI) in the first place. The UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) maintains a base perched on a stream that flows through Meille into Haiti’s largest river, and the town was thrown into the international spotlight in 2010 when cholera-contaminated human waste was discharged from the base into the river, triggering a deadly cholera outbreak.
BAI’s Managing Attorney Mario Joseph, Bertha Fellow Clifford Chery and I met with Jean late this summer, to strategize about justice for the cholera victims. The BAI and the U.S.-based Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti (IJDH)—where I work– had filed an internal claim with the UN. When that was rejected, we filed a lawsuit in U.S. courts. Our meeting was an opportunity to develop the connections between the legal efforts in the U.S. and the local organizing strategies, and we discussed how Jean could mobilize his community in rural Haiti to turn out for demonstrations to keep pressure on the UN.
Just before our visit with Jean, the UN Secretary-General had made his first trip to Haiti since the introduction of cholera, and publicly admitted the UN’s moral responsibility to respond to the epidemic. The fact that he visited at all—almost four years after the outbreak– is a testament to the continuing pressure being put on the UN in Haiti and abroad.
Click HERE for the full text.