Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti

Human Rights Organizations Support Cholera Case Appeal

In January 2015, a US judge dismissed our case against the United Nations for its lack of accountability for Haiti’s cholera epidemic. We have appealed the decision. 24 human rights organizations wrote the amicus curiae brief below in support of our appeal.

Click HERE for the full document.


Baher Azmy, William J. Aceves, Sarah Davila-Ruhaak

June 3, 2015



Amici Curiae1 consist of twenty-four human rights organizations from the
United States and around the world that are committed to the rule of law and
respect for fundamental rights, including the essential requirement of
accountability for wrongdoing.2 Amici are deeply concerned that thousands of
innocent victims of the 2010 cholera outbreak in Haiti, which is widely
acknowledged to have been caused by the United Nations and the United Nations
Stabilization Mission in Haiti (“MINUSTAH”), have received no redress for their
suffering and injuries. This cholera epidemic compounded the profound suffering

already experienced by the Haitian people as a result of the massive earthquake
that destroyed much of the country on January 12, 2010.
Amici are equally concerned with the decision of the district court which
effectively grants the United Nations impunity for its wrongful actions. Impunity is
contrary to the entire architecture of international law, including human rights law,
to which the United Nations is inextricably bound. As such, the district court’s
decision incorrectly interprets the governing treaty provisions in this case and
inappropriately absolves the United Nations from its firm duty to prevent the
arbitrary deprivation of life and provide remediation for its own wrongdoing.
Amici write to provide the Court with an understanding of the governing
international law principles that constrain the U.N.’s entitlement to immunity in
this case.
Despite the substantial harm inflicted on the Haitian people by the cholera
epidemic and the U.N.’s persistent failure to provide any remedies to the victims in
any form, the district court held that the Defendants in this case were categorically
immune from suit pursuant to the Convention on the Privileges and Immunities of
the United Nations, art. II(2), Feb. 13, 1946, 1 U.N.T.S. 16 (“CPIUN” or
“Convention”). In Georges v. United Nations, 2015 WL 129657 (S.D.N.Y. 2015),
the district court failed to acknowledge the significant constraints that international

law places on claims of absolute immunity asserted by international organizations
such as the United Nations and, thus, this Court’s previous ruling in Brzak v.
United Nations, 597 F.3d 107 (2d Cir. 2010), is not dispositive of the claims
asserted by the Plaintiffs here.

Click HERE for the full document.


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