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.

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 February 12, 2015, we filed a notice of appeal to begin the appeals process. Our next brief is due May 27, 2015.

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.

 

Haiti Cholera Outbreak is the UN’s Watergate

The tide continues to turn against the United Nations’ continued refusal to be accountable for cholera in Haiti. Since UN peacekeepers sparked the deadly epidemic in 2010, the UN hasn’t taken responsibility for the epidemic or provided any mechanism for victims to make claims. Recently, 4 UN experts wrote an allegation letter to the UN, citing the UN’s responsibility for the epidemic and accusing the UN of violating human rights. In response, the UN Secretary General wrote that the UN is doing all it can to fight the epidemic but also maintained the UN’s immunity from prosecution. This “exchange of letters still shows that there’s a growing movement of UN-linked figures who realize the world body’s position on the outbreak is no longer tenable.” It’s an important step towards justice. How the UN caused a massive cholera outbreak in Haiti … Continue reading

Rights Groups Urge Security Council to Address UN Cholera on Haiti Trip

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Mario Joseph, Av., Bureau des Avocats Internationaux (in Haiti), mario@ijdh.org, +509‑3938-9831 (French, Creole, English) Brian Concannon, Jr., Esq., Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti (Boston), brian@ijdh.org, +1-617-652-0876-263‑0029 (English, French, Creole) Rights Groups Urge Security Council to Address UN Cholera on Haiti Trip Port-au-Prince, Boston, January 21, 2015 — As the United Nations Security Council prepares to travel to Haiti this week, human rights groups in Haiti and the United States are urging the delegation to address the worsening cholera crisis that has plagued Haiti since UN peacekeepers introduced the disease in 2010. Since then, cholera has sickened over 720,000 and killed 8,700 people in Haiti alone— more than the total number of people killed by Ebola worldwide over that span. Members of the Security Council are traveling to Haiti on a three-day trip beginning January … Continue reading

A Disappointing Ruling on Cholera in Haiti

While the UN is leading (unsuccessful) efforts to eradicate cholera from Haiti, it has still not accepted responsibility for causing the epidemic and continues to dodge accountability in court. On January 9, 2015, a judge ruled that the UN is absolutely immune from suit unless it expressly waives immunity. IJDH and BAI lawyers leading this case plan to appeal the decision. Two other lawsuits against the UN are pending. Part of the article is below. Click HERE for the full text. U.N. immune from accountability for cholera in Haiti, says U.S. court Tom Murphy, Humanosphere January 12, 2015 Victims of the cholera outbreak brought to Haiti by U.N. peacekeeping troops from Nepal cannot sue the body in U.S. courts, a district judge ruled. Judge J. Paul Oetken of U.S. District Court in Manhattan agreed with the U.N.’s own assessment that it … Continue reading

Absolute UN Immunity Violates Cholera Victims’ Rights

This article argues that the January 9th ruling in favor of UN immunity in the cholera case violates Haitians’ human rights. Since the UN has provided no alternate mechanism for the victims to seek justice, they had no choice but to take their case to court. If the UN enjoys absolute immunity, the victims have no way to seek justice for the countless deaths and cases of illness caused by the epidemic the UN brought to Haiti. Part of the article is below. Click HERE for the full text. Five years after Haiti quake, a new setback for cholera victims Rosa Freedman, The Conversation January 12, 2015 January 12 2015 marks 5 years since Haiti was hit by a devastating earthquake hit. Countless victims were killed, homes destroyed, and vital infrastructure reduced to debris. Already one of the world’s poorest and most fragile countries, Haiti … Continue reading

US Court Deems UN Absolutely Immune from Cholera Justice

The Haitian Times, an authority on Haiti news in the Diaspora, picked up our press release on the latest development in the cholera case against the United Nations. On January 9th, 2015, a US judge dismissed the lawsuit, declaring the UN absolutely immune from suit. This leaves the victims of the epidemic with nowhere to turn to seek justice, as they have exhausted other methods of seeking a remedy. We will bring the suit to the appeals court and continue seeking justice for Haiti’s cholera victims. Part of the article is below. Click HERE for the full text. Judge Deems UN Immune from Lawsuit for Haiti Cholera Disaster The Haitian Times January 11, 2015 On the eve of the fifth anniversary of the devastating earthquake that hit Haiti in 2010, a U.S. judge dismissed a lawsuit against the United Nations (UN) for … Continue reading

Judge Rules UN Immune from Cholera Lawsuit

On January 9, 2015, a Manhattan Judge ruled that the UN is absolutely immune from lawsuits unless it expressly waives that immunity. While this is disappointing for Haitian cholera victims, their lawyers, and their advocates, the fight for justice isn’t over. IJDH and BAI will take the case to the appeals court next. Click HERE for the original. U.S. Judge Rules Haitians Cannot Sue U.N. for Cholera Epidemic David Ingram and Louis Charbonnneau, The New York Times January 10, 2015 NEW YORK — Thousands of Haitians killed or sickened by a cholera epidemic that they blame on U.N. peacekeepers cannot sue the United Nations in a U.S. court because the U.N. has legal immunity that only it can waive, a judge has ruled. In a decision late on Friday, Judge J. Paul Oetken of U.S. District Court in Manhattan dismissed a … Continue reading