Cholera

Overview

4701209630_bf8fcd2b8c_zCholera broke out in Haiti in Octo­ber 2010, and continues to constitute a grave medical emergency. Over­whelm­ing evi­dence has estab­lished that reck­less dis­posal of human waste by a United Nations (UN) peace­keep­ing base in Mire­bal­ais poi­soned Haiti’s rivers with a par­tic­u­larly deadly strain of cholera bac­te­ria and cre­ated the epi­demic. Now, despite even UN Spe­cial Envoy to Haiti Bill Clinton’s acknowl­edg­ment that the UN was the “prox­i­mate cause” of the epi­demic, the UN continues to refuse to accept respon­si­bil­ity and con­trol cholera in Haiti.

BAI and IJDH rep­re­sent Hait­ian vic­tims of cholera in their quest for jus­tice from the UN.

In Novem­ber 2011, we filed 5,000 claims with the UN, seeking:

A) The instal­la­tion of a national water and san­i­ta­tion sys­tem that will con­trol the epidemic,
B) Com­pen­sa­tion for indi­vid­ual vic­tims of cholera for their losses,
C) A pub­lic apol­ogy from the United Nations for its wrong­ful acts

    

In February 2013, after 15 months of silence, the UN tersely dismissed the claims in a two-line decision deeming the claims “not receivable.”  Since then, their strategy continues to be denial and stonewalling the media.

On October 9, 2013, BAI, IJDH, and law firm Kurzban, Kurzban, Weinger, Tetzelli & Pratt (KKWT) filed a lawsuit against the UN in NY Federal Court.  Click here for a full timeline of the events that led up to this.

The Cholera Account­abil­ity Project (CAP) works with Hait­ian grass­roots groups and inter­na­tional advo­cates in a broad-based cam­paign to force the UN to take action to stop the cholera’s killing. Diar­rheal dis­ease and lack of safe water are the worst pub­lic health prob­lems in Haiti. Our case demands the instal­la­tion of water and san­i­ta­tion infra­struc­ture that will con­trol the epi­demic and save more than 5,000 lives each year.

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 Get involved today by:
Making your voice heard on Twitter by tweeting this.
Petition to the UN to provide clean water & sanitation in Haiti.
Donating  to support the case.
Watching and sharing Baseball in the Time of Cholera.

 

Jonathan Katz, NPR discuss persistence of Haiti Cholera epidemic

NPR interviewed journalist Jonathan Katz, who has been covering the cholera epidemic in Haiti since it began three years ago. Katz discusses how lack of sanitation has prolonged the epidemic despite $9 million in foreign aid pledged to fight cholera. On the United Nations response to claims of blame, Katz notes ”since [the IJDH lawsuit], the science [supporting the claim] has been so overwhelming that the UN basically doesn’t even take up the issue of whether it’s responsible.” Why Cholera Persists In Haiti Despite An Abundance Of Aid NPR STAFF, NPR March 21, 2014 It’s been more than three years since cholera struck Haiti. And the epidemic continues today. The deadly bacteria have killed more than 8,500 people. And it has infected hundreds of thousands. Why has the outbreak been so hard to contain — especially given the $9 million in foreign aid pledged … Continue reading

New Cholera Lawsuit Claims UN Waived Immunity

A new lawsuit has been filed in Federal Court in Brooklyn, NY against the United Nations. The class-action lawsuit claims the UN waived immunity in 2004 when establishing the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti. This filing comes just a few days after the United States government confirmed its support of the UN’s immunity in a lawsuit filed by BAI, IJDH, and KKWTP on behalf of five named plaintiffs. Haiti: New Class-Action Lawsuit Seeks Compensation From UN For Cholera By the Caribbean Journal staff, Caribbean Journal March 11, 2014 A new lawsuit filed Tuesday in Federal court in Brooklyn seeks compensation from the United Nations for its alleged role in bringing cholera to Haiti. The lawsuit comes after the United States government wrote a letter last week charging that the United Nations has absolute immunity from suit under the UN Charter … Continue reading

Cholera Victims Need Stronger Support for Remedies

Cholera-Stricken Haitians Need Stronger State Support for Remedies John Marshall Law School International Human Rights Clinic, Partner March 7, 2014 A lax justice system is stymying efforts of cholera-infected Haitians to seek redress for their epidemic. But a new report from The John Marshall Law School International Human Rights Clinic and the Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti (IJDH) says this human rights abuse can be addressed with better accountability for state and non-governmental violators. The team submitted their report to the top U.N. official charged with overseeing people’s rights to safe drinking water and sanitation. In October 2010, a cholera epidemic broke out in Haiti that has killed more than 8,500 people and infected more than 700,000. According to the report, extensive evidence shows U.N. peacekeepers introduced the deadly strain to the country from reckless waste management that … Continue reading

Haitian American Elected Officials Letter to Secretary Kerry

Below is part of a letter from the National Haitian American Elected Officials Network (NHAEON) to Secretary of State John Kerry. The letter calls for the State Department to refuse to intervene on behalf of the UN in the cholera case, asking Kerry to do everything in his power to get justice for cholera victims. Click HERE for the full version. March 5, 2014 Dear Secretary Kerry, We write as members of the Haitian-American community and the National Haitian American Elected Officials Network (NHAEON) to express our deepest concerns by the United Nations’ failure to take responsibility for the cholera epidemic occurring in Haiti. We are writing to you with deep respect, for your decades of support for Haiti, the rule of law and global health, and asking you to do everything in your power to ensure that Haiti’s cholera epidemic is stopped … Continue reading

Haitian Diaspora Letter to Secretary Kerry

Below is part of a letter from 26 Haitian Diaspora groups to Secretary of State John Kerry. The letter calls for the State Department to refuse to intervene on behalf of the UN in the cholera case, asking Kerry to do everything in his power to get justice for cholera victims. Click HERE for the full letter. March 5, 2014 Dear Secretary Kerry, We write as members of the Haitian-American community deeply concerned by the United Nations’ failure to take responsibility for the cholera epidemic that it brought to Haiti. We are writing to you with deep respect, for your decades of support for Haiti, the rule of law and global health, and asking you to do everything in your power to ensure that Haiti’s cholera epidemic is stopped and we are provided justice. As you know, the cholera epidemic has killed over 8,500 Haitians … Continue reading

Cholera as a Grave Violation of Right to Water in Haiti

February 28, 2014 The following is a joint submission on behalf of IJDH and the International Human Rights Clinic at John Marshall Law School for the UN Special Rapporteur’s report on violations of the human rights to safe drinking water and sanitation. The submission discusses violations of the right to water in Haiti, focusing specifically on Haiti’s ongoing cholera epidemic and efforts to seek accountability and redress. The cholera crisis in Haiti represents a grave violation of the right to water, and provides a highly relevant case study in the strategies used and difficulties faced by victims seeking accountability and remedies for right to water violations perpetrated by non-State actors, including the underlying structural causes and power relations that limit access to judicial accountability mechanisms and complicate non-judicial accountability relationships.   IJDH JMSL Violation of Right to Water in Haiti