Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti

Testimony of Cholera Victims in Kret Brile

Victims from Kret Brile in Mirebalais share their views on the United Nations non-inclusive consultation process. 

English Translation of Video (PDF Version)
This afternoon, we are happy to be able to speak as representatives of cholera victims in Kret Brile. My name is Oldales Cherie in the area of ​​Jembal.

How did we come to represent the committee for the victims of cholera in Kret Brile? 

There was a big informational meeting that was held with BAI representatives. The people there chose us, to send us as their representatives. The people there were all of those who were victims of cholera in Kret Brile; they themselves chose us and sent us as their representatives.

We have come here today to intervene, to respond, comparatively with what we are learning that the United Nations says it is doing. The United Nations says it is doing a consultation, but we, as representatives of cholera victims in Kret Brile, were uninformed of this consultation. And if such consultation was completed, we, as representatives of the victims, should have been aware of it because the people selected us and sent us. Considering that they chose us and sent us, it is because they knew that we were able to represent them anywhere and accurately. If there is a consultation that is done and we, as the committee, are in the area and we do not know anything about it, we will not accept this so-called consultation. The reason why we do not accept it is because it was not done is a democratic way, it is as if it was done in a dictatorial way. It is done in a way as if they just impose something on us and democratic law does not allow for complete imposition of something on people. It is like if you have a father who gives a child something. It is not because it is his father that he can give it to him without asking his child the question, “Will he accept what he offered him?” Even if it is a child, he has rights. That is what you call democracy. The United Nations knows well what democracy is. I do not see why they would claim they conducted a so-called consultation like this without the victims— nor the representatives for the victims in Kret Brile—being informed of this.

So, what do we hope for? We hope for a real consultation. How will this real consultation be done? We want this to be done properly. We hope to do it in a different way.

In what alternative way do we hope to do it? How? The United Nations should sit down with the representatives of cholera victims in Kret Brile so it could ask them how they would wish it to be done. Because BAI, itself, in the big informational meeting they held for us explained very well what collective compensation and individual compensation are. The people there have a complete understanding of compensation either individual or collective. So, we do not agree with the way that the UN says it is doing that. We say “down with the consultations they are doing there!”. So, the United Nations must rethink their way and come back to the table.

So, as representatives of cholera victims in Kret Brile, we give our ideas and we speak so that the United Nations can hear what we are saying because we were uninformed of what it said it did there. So, we do not agree with it. We hope they rethink, rejoin us so that we can sit with them head-to-head. So, we can part with a consensus that we agree on based on democracy as well as in accordance with the law.

Okay. Thank you.

My name is Jean Baptiste Celimene, cholera victim. Today we had a representative for the victims. We heard that there was a consultation done, since we were victims. But the representatives were not aware. If the representatives were aware then I think that we, as the victims, would have been told. So that we, as victims, could be prepared for these consultations.

But today we the victims the representatives were not aware. If they were aware, we would have known.  We are still suffering, still victims and still asking for reparations we’re asking for reparations. We are still waiting for the consultation but to this day still have not gotten it.
My name is Sainvil Jean Claude. I am the representative for the victims of cholera in the section of Kret Brile. There was a big meeting that took place and the people chose us to be Representatives so that if there’s a decision that is going to be made, then we, the representatives of the victims, we should be able to let them know everything that’s happening. We’d been waiting for a  consultation the UN said it would do, and then we just heard that the consultation took place already and we were not aware and we were prepared for the consultation. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to participate in the consultation. We’re still waiting so that if at any moment they were to begin consultations, then we could let the victims know everything that’s going on.

It’s because the United Nations is giving us the runaround. We heard that there was a consultation that took place and we were not made aware of this so we reject this decision and are going to completely disregard it because they’re treating us as if we’re zombies.  Since we are victims, I don’t think that the government could make such a decision in our absence without giving us a chance to let the victims know so that we can they can say, “okay here’s what we want and here’s what we don’t want.” We just heard that there was a consultation that the place and we say “No.” We reject and we disregard it because we want the United Nations to come and meet with the committee face to face so we can make a viable decision for the victims. Because time they make a decision that is not in our favor, it’s in favor of the government. It is not in favor of the victims. If somebody is going to die, then it’s the victims that are going to die. If there is suffering to be felt, then it is the victims that are going to be suffering.

Right now we want for the United Nations to go back on their decision. Because the one that they’ve taken is not in the people’s best interest. It’s not in the victim’s interest. We consulted with the BAI office and other relevant parties. They’re the ones who are guiding us, informing us. We have Mario Joseph and his other collaborators who are giving us support. He’s the one who’s guiding us and showing us what to do and what not to do. We would like for the United Nations to go back on their decision and come and meet with us so we can give our point of view and so we can know what’s going to be done in favor of the victims because we did raise two points.  The first point spoke about the collective and we spoke of the individual compensation. The government cannot decide for us without talking to us. We just happened to hear and we’ll say it again– no once and for all. We don’t want this to happen anymore. Chodye a pap monte sou do youn timoun, pou-l desann sou do granmoun anko.  

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