While there have been a few steps taken towards justice for the cholera victims in Haiti, such as the October 23 hearing on the question of UN immunity, the UN still denies the victims access to justice. In light of this, Rep. John Conyers and 76 other members of Congress wrote to Secretary General Ban Ki-moon provide a settlement mechanism for the cholera victims’ claims. This isn’t the first letter from Congress demanding a just response to the epidemic. Four years after the epidemic was first brought to Haiti, the victims still need justice.
Part of the article is below. Click HERE for the full text.
John Conyers and 76 Other Members of Congress Urge UN to Provide Settlement Mechanism for Cholera Victims and their Families
Center for Economic and Policy Research
December 23, 2014
On October 23 Haiti’s cholera victims finally had their first court hearing regarding their suit against the UN. However, no one from the UN showed up. Since 2011, representatives of the victims have sought to obtain reparations from the UN given the overwhelming evidence that troops from the United Nations’ Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) were responsible for bringing cholera to the island. As the UN has refused to receive the victims’ claims, human rights lawyers at the Haiti-based Bureau des Avocats Internationaux and U.S.-based Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti, filed a lawsuit in U.S. courts. After months of deliberations, the Southern Federal District Court of New York held a hearing on the question of whether the UN could enjoy immunity from prosecution when it had violated its treaty obligations to submit to alternative dispute resolution mechanisms. While the victims’ legal representatives argued against UN immunity vis-à-vis the cholera claims, no UN representative appeared before the court and, instead, the U.S. Attorney General’s office presented arguments in defense of the UN. The court’s decision on the immunity question is still pending.
Now, 77 members of the U.S. House of Representatives, led by senior Democrat John Conyers, have weighed in with a letter urging UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon “to create a fair process to adjudicate the claims made by cholera victims that allows for the remediation of the affected communities.”
Click HERE for the full text.