Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti

Cholera Update: 86 International Experts Demand Justice

Since 2011, BAI and IJDH have fought for justice for the victims of the cholera epidemic caused by the United Nations in 2010. Since then, the United Nations has hid behind its diplomatic immunity in order to dodge accountability for the epidemic. At the same time, the network of people demanding justice has grown. Most recently, 86 former UN officials; international, Constitutional and European law scholars; Haitian-American leaders and human rights organizations joined in the fight for justice by signing on to six briefs explaining why UN immunity  should not apply in this case. Two of our new Legal Interns wrote an article about this development.

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International experts join Cholera victims’ fight for justice

Rodline Louijeune and Mark Phillips, Boston Haitian Reporter

June 16, 2015

Haiti’s cholera victims have taken another important step toward justice with respect to the deadly epidemic caused by the United Nations (UN). On May 27, the victims filed their legal brief in an appeal of an earlier court decision dismissing their claims against the UN. On June 3, 86 organizations and experts filed an additional six briefs supporting the victims’ appeal.

Since the victims’ claims for remedies were first filed against the UN in 2011, the UN has steadfastly refused to acknowledge any forum in which the claims can be heard. The UN summarily rejected the claims filed within its own system, and refuses to accept the jurisdiction of any court outside its system. This latest appeal represents a bold attempt to break down the barrier to justice that the UN has tried to build around itself.

The victims’ brief was filed by lawyers at the Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti (IJDH) in South Boston. It explained that the UN received immunity only after it promised to allow people harmed by its operations to pursue claims through its own procedures. The brief argued that the UN should not be allowed to enjoy immunity in U.S. courts when it refuses to honor its promise to accept claims in its internal procedures. This latest appeal is designed to force the UN to own up to its responsibility, and be held to the same standards of respect for human rights and for the rule of law that it claims to represent.

Click HERE for the full text.

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