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. We now await the judge’s decision.

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.

 

Cholera Litigation Frequently Asked Questions

JUSTICE FOR HAITI CHOLERA VICTIMS: THE LAWSUIT AGAINST THE UNITED NATIONS Click HERE for the pdf version, with citations. When did the Haitian cholera epidemic begin? What is cholera? Did UN actions really cause the cholera outbreak in Haiti? Isn’t Haiti’s weak water and sanitation to blame for the epidemic? How has the UN responded to the epidemic? How are claims against the UN supposed to be resolved? Did the cholera victims attempt to resolve their claims with the UN before filing a lawsuit? Why was the lawsuit filed in the United States instead of Haiti? How has the UN responded to the lawsuit? What is the Haitian Government’s position on the lawsuit? Why is the U.S. Government opposing the lawsuit? Does the UN have immunity from this lawsuit? What are the plaintiffs seeking? What would be the broader policy impacts of … Continue reading

What is the Movement for Cholera Justice?

This blog post by IJDH Staff Attorney Beatrice Lindstrom describes the fight for justice for Haiti’s cholera victims from filing claims with the United Nations in 2011, to the hearing about UN immunity this year. Through the Cholera Justice Network, which includes everyone from our supporters to political leaders, we have slowly but surely pushed the UN towards a just response to the epidemic. Part of the post is below. Click HERE for the full text. FROM HAITIAN VILLAGES TO US COURTS: THE MOVEMENT TO SECURE JUSTICE FOR HAITIAN SURVIVORS OF UN CHOLERA Beatrice Lindstrom, Bertha Justice Initiative Blog December 4, 2014 To reach the remote village where Jean—a cholera survivor who is one of our clients—is an elected community leader, one must drive past the small town of Meille, a vivid reminder of the events that connected Jean with the Bureau … Continue reading

Human Rights Day 2014

On December 10, 2014, people around the world will celebrate the principle that human rights are universal. To honor this principle, IJDH is working to ensure that human rights for all include Haiti cholera victims by speaking out for Haiti and calling the UN to do better. Please join us by participating in the following activities: Join IJDH’s Thunderclap Campaign, Speak Out For Haiti, and pledge to get 5 of your friends to sign up, too! Attend the Interfaith Prayer Service for Cholera Victims at the UN Church Center in New York City on December 11, 2014. Continue to tweet about why cholera justice matters to you using #ICareBecause. Help us demand that the UN not overlook Haiti’s cholera victims when it promotes universal human rights! Featured photo credit: Ben Depp  

UN Immunity and Its Implications for Cholera (In)Justice

In a speech originally planned to focus on UN immunity in cases of sexual violence, former UN insider Stephen Lewis was compelled to look at immunity in light of the cholera epidemic in Haiti. Despite causing the first cholera epidemic in Haiti in over a century, the UN has continually dodged responsibility and remained unaccountable for four years. Meanwhile, deaths from cholera continue. Now that cholera victims had a chance to argue in court (on October 23), Lewis and countless others hope that UN immunity will finally stop being impunity and the victims will have justice. Click HERE for the pdf. The 2014 Raoul Wallenberg Lecture in Human Rights at the Faculty of Law, McGill University delivered by Stephen Lewis, Professor of Practice in Global Governance at the Institute for the Study of International Development, McGill University Montreal November 12, 2014 Allow … Continue reading

Lack of Cholera Accountability Puts UN at Risk

At the core of the United Nations’ values are human rights and the rule of law. When it comes to the cholera epidemic in Haiti, however, Attorney Tim Howard argues that the UN has completely ignored those values. Although mounds of scientific evidence prove UN peacekeepers’ responsibility for bringing cholera to Haiti in 2010, the UN has remained unaccountable ever since.  Many believe that this lack of accountability greatly undermines the UN’s ability to hold others accountable in the future. Part of the article is below. Click HERE for the full text. In denying Haiti cholera deaths, UN risks violating its core purpose Tim Howard, Global Post November 9, 2014 CAMBRIDGE, England — Late last month, attorneys argued before the US Federal District Court in Manhattan that the United Nations is not immune from liability for the spread of cholera throughout Haiti. The medical … Continue reading

Does the UN have double standards for justice?

While the UN continues to promote justice and the rule of law in countries worldwide, it shirks those same responsibilities in Haiti. Since UN peacekeepers first began a cholera epidemic in Haiti in 2010, they have been dodging the victims’ calls for justice. More and more people, including current and former UN insiders, are demanding that the UN practice what it preaches and give Haitians justice. Part of the article is below. Click HERE for the full text. The danger of two-tiered justice: Lessons from the Haiti cholera case Brenda Kombo, Pambazuka News November 5, 2014 … Haiti may be thousands of kilometres away, but as the country grapples with colonial legacies, neo-colonial infringements, corruption, socio-economic hurdles and democratization challenges, its citizens’ struggle for UN accountability may carry lessons for the African continent as well. Haiti lacks the clout to demand … Continue reading