Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti


U.N. should take responsibility for Haiti’s deadly cholera epidemic,” by presidential candidate Gov. Martin O’Malley,,  August 17, 2015

UN must step up, apologize, and help drive cholera from Haiti” The Boston Globe editorial board, August 12, 2015

154 Haitian-American Groups and Leaders Express Outrage to Secretaries Ban and Kerry and Demand UN Accountability to Haiti’s Cholera Victims, July 9, 2015

Scholars, Rights Experts, Former UN Officials and More Support BAI/IJDH Cholera Appeal, press release, June 4, 2015

UN Special Rapporteurs Send Cholera Accusation Letter to the Secretary GeneralBusiness Insider, April 9, 2015

77 Congresspersons Urge UN to Provide Settlement Mechanism for Cholera Victims and their Families, December 19, 2014


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. On May 27, 2015, we filed the Plaintiffs’ Principal Appellate Brief. On August 26, 2015, the United States filed an Amicus Curiae Brief in support of affirmance. On September 25, 2015, we filed the Appellants Reply Brief.

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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Institute for Justice & Democracy In Haiti
666 Dorchester Avenue
Boston, MA 02127

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