IJDH Board member Ira Kurzban participated in an esteemed panel on cholera in Haiti and United Nations accountability for causing the epidemic. Since the start of the epidemic in 2010, over 9,000 Haitians have died and over 800,000 have had cholera and the epidemic is still not under control. While then-Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon apologized for not doing enough to stop the epidemic, Dr. Cadet (one of the panelists) made it clear that “the battle is far from being over.” Though the case against the United Nations may be over in court for now, it continues on the streets through advocacy and spreading the word so the fight for cholera continues until the UN ends the epidemic once and for all.
A partial write-up about the panel is below. Here is the full text.
UN immunity beats back legal claims by Haitian cholera victims, battle continues
American Bar Association
February 4, 2017
Despite a significant legal setback last summer, the fight for reparations for victims of Haiti’s cholera epidemic continues.
Four lawyers and a physician agreed during a panel discussion that the battle has been difficult and disappointing, but they will continue to seek improvements to the nation’s sanitary systems and payments from the United Nations for those who have suffered.
“The battle is far from being over,” said Dr. Joseph Pierre-Paul Cadet of the Polyclinique de West Palm Beach. “We have to keep on fighting for those unfortunate people of Haiti.”
More than 9,000 Haitians have died from cholera and more than 800,000 have been infected since the outbreak, which is still not under control, began in 2010. Experts believe the epidemic began when U.N. peacekeepers from Nepal arrived in Haiti to help with earthquake recovery efforts. The experts say some peacekeepers brought cholera with them, and it spread to Haitians when sewage from the peacekeepers’ camp spilled into a local river.