Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti

Background

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Cholera 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.

  • On October 23, 2014 a judge heard oral arguments on the question of UN immunity. On January 9, 2015, the judge dismissed our case.
  • On August 18, 2016, the Court upheld the United Nations’ immunity from claims. We have 90 days to decide whether to appeal to the Supreme Court.
  • 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:

Media Coverage

UN is breaking its promise to people of Haiti” (Opinion), by Stephen Lewis, CNN, June 25, 2017

Front Uni de la Diaspora Haïtienne wrote a letter to Haitian Senators Urging them to raise the cholera issue with the United Nations Security Council,(the letter is in French), June 15, 2017

U.N. pushes to finance Haiti’s cholera cleanup with leftover peacekeeping dollars,” by Jacqueline Charles, Miami Herald, June 14, 2017

Haiti betrayed: Stephen Lewis comments on disappointing new developments in the UN’s response to cholera in Haiti,” Aids-Free World, June 16, 2017

H.E. Ms Keisha Mcguire Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Grenada to the United Nations on Behalf of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) on Agenda Item 69 (C) “New Approach to Cholera in Haiti” New York, June 14, 2017

Intervention by H.E. Courtenay Rattray, Permanent Representative of Jamaica, at the Informal briefing by the Deputy Secretary-General on the United Nations’ New Approach to Cholera in Haiti”  June 14,  2017

UNstoppable: How Advocates Persevered in the Fight for Justice for Haitian Cholera Victims,”Adam Houston, Health and Human Rights Journal, June 6, 2017

Cholera outbreak in Haiti—from 2010 to today,” by John Zarocostas, The Lancet, June 10, 2017

U.N. Offers Regret but No Compensation for Kosovo Poisoning VictimsNew York Times, June 06, 2017

Trump Won’t Pay a Penny For U.N. Cholera Relief Fund in HaitiForeign Policy, June 01, 2017

Haiti still prone to cholera despite increased access to improved water sources,Healio, April 27, 2017

Haiti’s cholera victims still can’t get what they need from the UNThe Conversation, April 19, 2017

Will State Inaction at UN Imperil Haiti Cholera Response? – IPI Global Observatory, April 4, 2017

What They Knew, and When They Knew ItSlate, March 30, 2017

Haiti is still waiting on promised UN help for cholera epidemicThe Boston Globe, March 27, 2017

Haïti : l’ONU « responsable mais pas coupable »Les Echos, March 22, 2017

U.N. Accepts Blame but Dodges the Bill in HaitiThe New York Times, March 21, 2017

After Bringing Cholera to Haiti, U.N. Can’t Raise Money to Fight ItThe New York Times, March 19, 2017

UN Fund to Fight Cholera in Haiti at 2 Percent of Goal – Voice of America, March 12, 2017

Les victimes du choléra se préparent à recevoir l’indemnisation promise par les Nations uniesLe Nouvelliste, February 22, 2017 (English translation)

U.N. Apologizes for Role in Haiti’s 2010 Cholera Outbreak, The New York Times, December 1, 2016

13 Members of Congress Demand Cholera Justice and UN Apology, Congress of the United States, November 18, 2016

IADL Bulletin of UN Activities Features Haiti Cholera and Elections, The International Association of Democratic Lawyers, November 2016

Linked to Haiti Cholera Outbreak, UN Considers Paying Millions in Compensation, NPR, October 25, 2016

Statement and Question on Haiti Cholera from Jamaican Ambassador, The Third Committee of the United Nations General Assembly, October 25, 2016

Statement of Lawyers for Victims of the UN Cholera in Haiti on the Report of UN Special Rapporteur Alston, IJDH, October 25, 2016

UN human rights expert: “UN lawyers undermine a just solution for the victims of cholera in Haiti, United Nations, October 25, 2016

Dr. Paul Farmer Is “Surprised and Upset and Humbled” After Visit to Haiti, NPR, October 21, 2016

51 Florida Groups and Leaders Ask Hillary Clinton Meeting and Views on Urgent Haiti Issues, IJDH, October 20, 2016

Dorcena Forry hosts first ‘Eyes on Haiti’ conversation; focus on cholera, storm aid, Dorchester Reporter, October 20, 2016

IJDH’s Beatrice Lindstorm Featured by NYU Law for Cholera Work, NYU Law, October 18, 2016

Advocates Denounce UN Chief’s Failure to Acknowledge Responsibility for Cholera, IJDH, October 15, 2016

New York Times Front Page on UN Cholera, New York Times, October 15, 2016

New York City Bar Demands Cholera Justice, New York City Bar, October 14, 2016

Why the United Nations is facing pushback as it tries to help Haiti, Editorial, The Christian Science Monitor, October 14, 2016

How the US and the UN Set the Stage for a Major Cholera Outbreak in Haiti, Editorial, Alternet, October 11, 2016

After Hurricane Matthew, cholera is once again threatening Haiti, The Miami Herald, October 9, 2016

British doctor who tackled Ebola now leads fight against cholera in Haiti, The Miami Herald, September 30, 2016

President Privert Answers the Call of Cholera Victims in UN General Assembly Address, United Nations, September 23, 2016

UN Chief Issues Historic Statement on Haiti Cholera, As Experts Call For A Robust UN Response to Victims, IJDH, September 21, 2016

UN Secretary General Talks Cholera with President Obama, IJDH, September 20, 2016

President urged to demand cholera reparations at UN General Assembly, The Haiti Sentinel, September 16, 2016

Haitians Deserve the Truth over the UN’s Role in Cholera Epidemic, Editorial, The Haiti Support Group, September 8, 2016

Boston activists win an important round in battle with the United Nations, The Boston Globe, August 26, 2016

The UN in a time of cholera: Admitting incompetence in creating an epidemic, Editorial, NY Daily News, August 23, 2016

Statement attributable to Spokesman for the Secretary-General on Haiti, August 19, 2016 (SG Ban Ki-moon promises “material assistance” for cholera victims)

U.S. Court Upholds United Nations’ Immunity in Cholera Suit, The New York Times, August 18, 2016

UN Admits Role in Haiti Cholera – Media Coverage, August 18, 2016

Amid Haiti cholera epidemic, UN peacekeepers spill sewage and ignore water treatment, says internal report, Fox News, August 11, 2016

Senators Markey and Rubio demand US lead on UN accountability (letter), July 25, 2016

State Dept. should demand UN take responsibility in Haiti, Editorial, The Boston Globe, July 12, 2016

The Cholera Epidemic the U.N. Left Behind in Haiti, Editorial, The New York Times, July 6, 2016

Cholera in Haiti: Epidemic and Fight History Prospects and Recommendations, Assistance Publique Hôpitaux de Marseille, July 2016

Lawmakers Urge John Kerry to Press U.N. for Haiti Cholera Response, The New York Times, June 29, 2016

Congress Faults Obama for Not Being Tough With UN Over Haiti’s Cholera Crisis, The Guardian, June 29, 2016

Bi-Partisan Letter by 158 Congresspersons to Secretary of State Kerry, June 29, 2016

Why the Haitian Cholera Victims Deserve Their Day in Court, PLoS, June 27, 2016

Rock: We must fix the UN’s culture of coverups around peacekeeping, Ottawa Citizen, June 13, 2016

Dear Mr Ban Ki-moon, Editorial, The Lancet, June 11, 2016

U.N. Accused of Cover Up as Cholera Ravages Haiti, WNYC, June 2, 2016

UN response to Haiti cholera epidemic critics signals ‘potential breakthrough’, The Guardian, June 1, 2016

De 145 Organismes et Individus: Lettre ouverte au très honorable Justin Trudeau, Premier ministre du Canada, April 30, 2016

From 145 Organizations and Individuals: Open Letter to the Right Honourable Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada, April 30, 2016

UN could have prevented Haiti cholera epidemic with $2,000 health kit – study, The Guardian, April 14, 2016

Leaked UN report faults sanitation at Haiti bases at time of cholera outbreak, The Guardian, April 5, 2016

Truth and Justice for Haiti, The Boston Globe, April 4, 2016

Intervention de SEM Pierre André DUNBAR Ambassadeur, Représantant Permanent, 31ème Session du Coneil des droits de l’homme, March 23, 2016

Why The U.N. Is Being Sued Over Haiti’s Cholera Epidemic, NPR, March 21, 2016

Cholera Deaths in Haiti Could Far Exceed Official Count, The New York Times, March 18, 2016

Blame for Haiti’s Cholera Epidemic, Miami Herald, March 14, 2016

Cholera in Haiti: UN experts chastise Ban Ki-moon over handling of outbreak, The Guardian, March 3, 2016

Court Hears Suit Against U.N. on Haiti Cholera Outbreak, The New York Times, March 1, 2016

Unofficial Transcript from Oral Argument in Georges v. United Nations, March 1, 2016

Before 2016

U.N. Offers Regret but No Compensation for Kosovo Poisoning Victims,” May 26, 2017

Contact IJDH

Institute for Justice & Democracy In Haiti
15 Newbury Street
Boston, MA 02116

Telephone: (617) 652-0876
General Inquiries: info@ijdh.org
Media Inquiries: media@ijdh.org

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