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.
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.
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.
This article describes the cholera epidemic in Haiti, as well as the October 23 oral arguments on the question of UN immunity. It also compares the cholera epidemic to the Ebola epidemic in West Africa, both of which are exacerbated (or even allowed) by poverty. Ebola is very difficult to combat but cholera is, fortunately, easy to fight and prevent. What would help most is the UN taking responsibility for the epidemic it caused and helping Haiti build the water and sanitation infrastructure it needs to be cholera-free. An excerpt is below. Click HERE for the full text. There’s an Epidemic on Trial in New York — But It’s Not Ebola Lauren Carasik, VICE News October 27, 2014 … The UN has declined to appear in court on its own behalf. Instead, Assistant US Attorney Ellen Blain argued that as both … Continue reading
October 23, 2014 Part of the transcript is below. Click HERE for the full text. Good morning, everyone, and welcome. We are here for oral argument on the pending motions in this case. As you know, the complaint in the case was filed in October 2013, just a little over a year ago. Plaintiffs allege that the United Nations and entities affiliated with the United Nations caused a cholera epidemic, beginning in October of 2010, in Haiti, and they bring claims for negligence and related claims against the United Nations and associated entities and individuals of the United Nations. They have sought to serve those entities, the defendants. The United Nations defendants have resisted service, and we are here for oral argument really on just the issue of whether this Court should deem service to have been made and the related … Continue reading
This article explores the US government’s interest in the case against the United Nations for bringing cholera to Haiti. At yesterday’s oral arguments on the question of UN immunity, a US attorney argued in favor of absolute immunity for the UN, though the US isn’t a party to the litigation. The US has also submitted two statements in support of UN immunity in 2014. Part of the article is below. Click HERE for the full text. The U.N. Caused Haiti’s Cholera Epidemic. Now the Obama Administration Is Fighting the Victims. Jonathan Katz, New Republic October 24, 2014 Four years ago this month a battalion of United Nations soldiers, fresh from a cholera outbreak in Nepal, allowed their sewage to flow into Haiti’s biggest river and, scientists say, sparked the deadliest acute epidemic of the century. An estimated 9,000 people have … Continue reading
Brian Concannon October 23, 2014 Three years ago next week I was on a nighttime Fung Wah Bus from New York back to Boston, feeling exhilarated and terrified. That morning we had announced the filing of a claim with the United Nations on behalf of 5,000 victims of the UN cholera in Haiti. I was exhilarated because we had taken an important first step towards justice for those killed and sickened by the epidemic, and the installation of the water and sanitation infrastructure necessary to stop cholera’s killing. I was terrified because I feared that a small organization—without even a paid staff lawyer besides the Director—could not contend with the United Nations that boasted some of the best international lawyers in the world and millions of dollars for outside lawyers and public relations work. Three years later I am on a … Continue reading
In this brief interview, Beatrice Lindstrom, attorney for the plaintiffs, explains why the October 23 hearing took place. Democracy Now! also gives some brief background information. Part of the text is below. Click HERE for the full text and video (start at 7:34). U.S. Judge Considers U.N. Immunity in Haiti Cholera Case Democracy Now! October 24, 2014 Beatrice Lindstrom: “We argued today that the United Nations cannot enjoy immunity in this suit when the United Nations is responsible for the death of over 8,500 people and over 700,000 people who have been injured. And the United Nations has clear legal obligations under their own treaties to provide remedies for people who have been harmed by the United Nations, and that is uncontested by the U.N. itself.” Click HERE for the full text and video (start at 7:34).
This article provides a great description of the October 2014 hearing on the question of UN immunity in the case of Georges et al. vs. United Nations et al. Staff Attorney Beatrice Lindstrom, arguing on behalf of the plaintiffs, contended that the UN cannot enjoy immunity when it has violated its obligations to provide alternate remedies to the victims. The US attorney, Ellen Blain, argued that the UN enjoys immunity regardless of any violations. Part of the article is below. Click HERE for the full text and video. US Court Hears Pleas for Justice over UN Role in Haiti’s Cholera Epidemic Makini Brice, PanAm Post October 24, 2014 Haitian cholera victims finally had their day in court on Thursday: a hearing at the US District Court in the Southern District of New York on a gray, rainy New York morning. About 50 official observers and other … Continue reading