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.

 

Human Rights, Grassroots Leaders, and Justice

Human rights work with impact:  led by those whose rights have been infringed; supported and amplified by a network of committed  attorneys, activists, journalists, and students. This article uses our cholera advocacy work as a case study of how human rights work that empowers grassroots leaders can really make an impact on the system. Fran Quigley, author of How Human Rights Can Build Haiti, describes how we have used a “Cholera Justice Network” to build momentum for justice for Haiti’s cholera victims. Part of the article is below. Click HERE for the full text. Activists and law in Haiti: multi-level human rights campaigns to find justice Fran Quigley, Open Democracy October 22, 2014 Chris Jochnick recently posed a critically important question when he asked if courts, activists and lawyers really can make a difference on poverty. And I think we can safely say yes. Right now, a … Continue reading

Hearing Set For UN Cholera Case

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Press Contact: Shannon Jonsson, Legal Fellow, Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti, shannon@ijdh.org, +1-617-652-0876 Kermshlise Picard, Communications Coordinator, Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti, kermshlise@ijdh.org, +1-617-652-0876 PRESS ADVISORY: Hearing Set For UN Cholera Case District Court to rule on UN claim to absolute immunity from justice (New York, October 8, 2014)—Judge J. Paul Oetken has granted Plaintiffs’ request for an oral argument in Georges v. United Nations, 1:13-CV-7146, the ongoing case against the United Nations (UN), the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH), UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, and former head of MINUSTAH Edmond Mulet, for recklessly introducing cholera to Haiti in 2010. Victims of the resulting epidemic filed the case in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York in October 2013. Judge Oetken has now ordered that counsel for the parties … Continue reading

Cholera Hearing Could Mean Trouble for UN

The cholera hearing set for October 23, 2014 has a lot of implications, many of which can be bad for the UN if the decision is in the plaintiffs’ favor. The plaintiffs have a very good chance of winning because the UN has provided them no alternate mechanism for justice. The UN, though, is probably not ready for the consequences of a victory for the victims. Now more than ever, the UN should take responsibility for the cholera epidemic and be accountable for its actions. Part of the article is below. Click HERE for the full text. Haitian cholera victims could soon bring the UN to court Rosa Freedman (University of Birmingham), The Conversation October 8, 2014 In October 2010, a cholera outbreak began in Haiti for the first time in more than 100 years. The strain that was brought into Haiti has been traced to a … Continue reading

Cholera Granted Oral Arguments

Thursday, October 23, a judge will hear oral arguments on jurisdictional questions in the cholera case against the UN. The biggest point argued will be the question of UN immunity. This is an exciting step towards justice for the victims of cholera in Haiti. Lawsuit Against U.N. on the Spread of Cholera Epidemic in Haiti Advances Damien Cave, The New York Times October 8, 2014 A federal judge in New York has agreed to hear oral arguments in a lawsuit filed against the United Nations by advocates for Haitian victims of the deadly cholera epidemic that first appeared on the island four years ago. The lawsuit, filed last year, argues that United Nations peacekeepers in Haiti were responsible for introducing the disease through sewage contamination from their barracks after the earthquake that devastated Haiti in 2010. The epidemic has killed more than 8,000 people. Oral arguments are scheduled … Continue reading

Le dossier du choléra aura une audience

Le juge pour le dossier du cholera contre l’ONU accorde une audience sur l’immunité le 23 octobre 2014. Maitre Mario Joseph, du BAI, explique l’importance du cette audience, en nous rappelant que c’est le début de la lutte pour la justice. Partie de l’article est ci-dessous. Cliquez ICI pour la texte complete. Haïti-Choléra : BAI, Haïti bénéficiera d’une audience auprès du Tribunal fédéral de Manhattan… Haiti Press Network 2 octobre 2014 « Haïti bénéficiera d’une audience auprès du Tribunal fédéral de Manhattan à New York , le 23 octobre prochain ». C’est en substance ce qu’a annoncé le président du Bureau des Avocats internationaux (BAI) et l’Institut pour la Justice et la Démocratie en Haïti (IJDH) ce jeudi 2 octobre lors d’une conférence de presse tenue dans les locaux de ce bureau sis à la deuxième impasse Lavaud (Lalue). Monsieur Mario Joseph se dit satisfait … Continue reading

Haiti Cholera Emmy Leaves UN Nowhere to Hide

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Mario Joseph, Av., Bureau des Avocats Internationaux, (in Haiti), mario@ijdh.org, +509-3701-9878 (French, Creole, English) Brian Concannon, Jr., Esq., Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti, brian@ijdh.org, +1-541-263-0029 (English, French, Creole) Beatrice Lindstrom, Esq., Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti, beatrice@ijdh.org, +1-404-217-1302 (English, Creole, French) Emmy Award for Haiti Cholera Documentary Leaves UN Nowhere to Hide, Lawyers Say Al Jazeera America Film Documents UN Refusal to Comply With Its Own Laws (Port-au-Prince and Boston, October 1, 2014)—Lawyers representing victims of the UN-introduced cholera epidemic in Haiti applaud the awarding of the News Emmy for Outstanding Investigative Journalism to Al Jazeera America for Fault Lines: Haiti in A Time of Cholera. The lawyers noted that the distinguished award, announced in New York on September 30, exposes the UN’s refusal to comply with its own legal obligations in … Continue reading