Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti

Faith-based Groups Put Pressure on UN for Cholera Deaths

In response to the UN-introduced cholera outbreak in Haiti, IJDH and Mennonite Central Committee collaborated in the Face Justice campaign for the past year to bring attention to the victims’ and survivors’ stories. This article highlights faith-based groups who joined the effort, including the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and Church World Service. IJDH director Brian Concannon notes the network of support includes lawyers, scientists, and doctors, who separately work to benefit the UN’s victims.

“This collaborative, network-based strategy,” Concannon said, “is exciting and a template for how you can do broad social change.”

Below is part of the article from Christian Century. Read the full article HERE.

Faith-based groups, others put pressure on UN for its role in Haiti cholera deaths

Every family in Joseph Dade Guiwil’s community has been harmed by the cholera epidemic in Haiti, the worst outbreak in recent history.

“I say to the UN: give us justice,” Guiwil told Katharine Oswald of Mennonite Central Committee, a Christian relief and development organization.

United Nations peacekeepers have been found to be the source of the cholera outbreak that began six years ago and has killed thousands. MCC has joined other faith-based organizations, Haitian groups, and others in a call for the UN to accept moral responsibility.

“This call for justice for cholera victims in Haiti has been strong and consistent throughout the past six years,” Oswald said.

The devastation of Hurricane Matthew in early October left people with even fewer resources to prevent cholera, which often spreads through contaminated water and causes dehydration that can kill people within hours if they do not receive medical attention. The hurricane ripped away cholera prevention centers as well as health-care facilities and people’s latrines, said Oswald, who has been based in Port-au-Prince with her husband, Ted Oswald, for the past two years but who is currently working in the United States.

As nongovernmental organizations and state authorities respond to the thousands of new infections since the hurricane, some groups are continuing to put pressure on the UN to take responsibility for introducing cholera to Haiti.

“There was waste that was improperly disposed of that leaked into a tributary that spread into the Artibonite River, which is Haiti’s main water source,”  Oswald said. “It just hit like wildfire.”

Scientists traced the bacteria in the river to a base of UN peacekeepers from Nepal.

Click HERE for the full article.

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