Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti


Statement attributable to Spokesman for the Secretary-General on Haiti, August 19, 2016 (SG Ban Ki-moon promises “material assistance” for cholera victims)
U.S. Court Upholds United Nations’ Immunity in Cholera SuitThe New York Times, August 18, 2016
UN Admits Role in Haiti Cholera – Media Coverage, August 18, 2016
Amid Haiti cholera epidemic, UN peacekeepers spill sewage and ignore water treatment, says internal reportFox News, August 11, 2016
Senators Markey and Rubio demand US lead on UN accountability (letter), July 25, 2016
State Dept. should demand UN take responsibility in Haiti, Editorial, The Boston Globe, July 12, 2016
The Cholera Epidemic the U.N. Left Behind in Haiti, Editorial, The New York Times, July 6, 2016
Cholera in Haiti: Epidemic and Fight History Prospects and Recommendations, Assistance Publique Hôpitaux de Marseille, July 2016
Lawmakers Urge John Kerry to Press U.N. for Haiti Cholera ResponseThe New York Times, June 29, 2016
Congress Faults Obama for Not Being Tough With UN Over Haiti’s Cholera Crisis, The Guardian, June 29, 2016
Bi-Partisan Letter by 158 Congresspersons to Secretary of State Kerry, June 29, 2016
Why the Haitian Cholera Victims Deserve Their Day in CourtPLoS, June 27, 2016
Rock: We must fix the UN’s culture of coverups around peacekeepingOttawa Citizen, June 13, 2016
Dear Mr Ban Ki-moon, Editorial, The Lancet, June 11, 2016
U.N. Accused of Cover Up as Cholera Ravages HaitiWNYC, June 2, 2016
UN response to Haiti cholera epidemic critics signals ‘potential breakthrough’, The Guardian, June 1, 2016
De 145 Organismes et Individus: Lettre ouverte au très honorable Justin Trudeau, Premier ministre du Canada, April 30, 2016
From 145 Organizations and Individuals: Open Letter to the Right Honourable Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada, April 30, 2016
UN could have prevented Haiti cholera epidemic with $2,000 health kit – studyThe Guardian, April 14, 2016
Leaked UN report faults sanitation at Haiti bases at time of cholera outbreakThe Guardian, April 5, 2016
Truth and Justice for HaitiThe Boston Globe, April 4, 2016
Intervention de SEM Pierre André DUNBAR Ambassadeur, Représantant Permanent, 31ème Session du Coneil des droits de l’homme, March 23, 2016
Why The U.N. Is Being Sued Over Haiti’s Cholera EpidemicNPR, March 21, 2016
Cholera Deaths in Haiti Could Far Exceed Official CountThe New York Times, March 18, 2016
Blame for Haiti’s Cholera EpidemicMiami Herald, March 14, 2016
Cholera in Haiti: UN experts chastise Ban Ki-moon over handling of outbreak, The Guardian, March 3, 2016
Court Hears Suit Against U.N. on Haiti Cholera Outbreak, The New York Times, March 1, 2016
Unofficial Transcript from Oral Argument in Georges v. United Nations, March 1, 2016
Before 2016


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.
  • On March 1, 2016, oral arguments were heard before the Second Circuit Court of Appeals.
  • On August 18, 2016, the Court upheld the United Nations’ immunity from claims. We have 90 days to decide whether to appeal to the Supreme Court.

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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