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.

 

Surreply to the US Government’s Response on UN Immunity

This is our final brief on the question of UN immunity. In it, the plaintiffs argue against the US government’s July 7th response to our previous opposition brief. Part of the brief is below. Click here for the full version. MEMORANDUM OF LAW IN FURTHER OPPOSITION TO THE GOVERNMENT’S STATEMENT OF INTEREST August 28, 2014 INTRODUCTION Plaintiffs respectfully submit this response to the Government’s Letter in Further Support of its Statement of Interest (the “Reply”) in this case seeking to hold the United Nations and its officers accountable for their role in precipitating the ongoing cholera epidemic in Haiti. The Government’s Reply mischaracterizes the core issues before this Court as turning on whether Defendants have waived immunity under Section 2 of the CPIUN, adopted Feb. 13, 1946, 21 U.S.T. 1418, 1 U.N.T.S. 16.[1]  Waiver is not at issue here.  The core issue … Continue reading

Cholera: From the Origin to Legal Developments

This article details both the theory that cholera in Haiti was triggered by environmental factors, as well as the evidence showing that United Nations peacekeepers triggered the epidemic through negligent sanitary practices. The author then describes the actions BAI and IJDH took to seek justice for cholera victims, from the 2011 petition demanding UN accountability through the 2013 complaint filed in the Southern District of New York. He also outlines some of the legal arguments against the UN’s response, as well as outside reactions to the case (including former UN High Commissioner Navi Pillay’s). The introductory paragraph is below. Click HERE for a pdf of the full article. Cholera in Haiti: A Perfect Storm of Scientific and Legal Uncertainty Guy R. Knudsen, Natural Resources & Environment Summer 2014 To date, the Haitian cholera epidemic that broke out in 2010 has killed more than … Continue reading

Advocates Demand Transparency from UN Cholera Team

The United Nations has revealed that it appointed a Task Force to address the recommendations of the 2011 Independent Panel of Scientific Experts who originally looked into the cholera epidemic. That original panel established that the UN likely caused the epidemic and made 7 recommendations on how to stop it. Most of those recommendations have not been completed, despite the appointment of this new Task Force. Cholera advocates are now wondering what exactly the purpose of the Task Force is, and why the recommendations are being ignored. Secretary General in Haiti for Cholera “Photo-op” as Transparency Questions Continue to Dog the UN Center for Economic and Policy Research July 23, 2014 Last week, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon travelled to Haiti to raise awareness of the ongoing cholera epidemic that scientific studies have continually shown the U.N. troops in Haiti to … Continue reading

Haitians Tired of UN Cholera Promises without Action

Nearly four years after UN peacekeepers began a cholera epidemic in Haiti, Secretary General Ban Ki-moon visited to convey his and his wife’s sympathies. He also re-launched a sanitation initiative, which is suspiciously similar to the previous UN cholera initiative which has gotten very little funding. Haitians protested Ban Ki-moon’s visit, citing the UN’s continued promises and lack of action. FOUR YEARS AFTER CHOLERA OUTBREAK, UN SECRETARY GENERAL VISITS HAITI Kim Ives, Haiti Liberte July 16-22, 2014 For the first time since cholera began racing across Haiti in late 2010, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon visited Haiti on Jul. 14-15 in an effort to resuscitate a stalled $2.2 billion UN plan to eliminate the deadly disease from the country over the next decade. Launched in December 2012, the UN “initiative” was really nothing more than the repackaging of the … Continue reading

Cholera and Women’s Rights on Chicago NPR

IJDH Staff Attorney Beatrice Lindstrom and KOFAVIV Associate Director Malya Villard-Appolon speak about cholera accountability and gender-based violence in an hour-long NPR show about Haiti. Joining them are Dr. Ludovic Comeau of GRAHN-World, and Dr. Evan Lyon of Partners in Health. Bringing perspectives from the legal, medical and economic development fields, they answered questions like “What might happen now that Ban Ki-moon said the UN bears a “moral responsibility” to eliminate cholera,” and “What impact are grassroots organizations having on rapes in Haiti?” Cholera lawsuit against U.N. in Haiti, and death threats for Haitian advocate for women’s safety WBEZ Worldview July 16, 2014   Click HERE for the original.

Critics Insulted By Ban Ki-moon’s Haiti Visit

Nearly four years after causing a cholera epidemic in Haiti, the UN still hasn’t taken responsibility. Ban Ki-Moon is visiting Haiti, taking trips to cholera centers and giving speeches, but they seem just empty words and photo opportunities. During the trip, Ban announced the launch of a new sanitation campaign in Haiti but the UN’s cholera elimination plan still remains substantially underfunded. UN Chief Slammed for Taking Photo-Op, Not Responsibility for Cholera Epidemic It’s “an insult to all Haitians,” said Mario Joseph, Managing Attorney of the Bureau des Avocats Internationaux Andrea Germanos, Common Dreams July 15, 2014 United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is under fire for using his first visit to Haiti since the cholera outbreak began to deliver what critics see as empty words and an insult to those killed by the UN-caused epidemic. U.N. troops from Nepal brought the disease to the … Continue reading