Cholera 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 February 12, 2015, we filed a notice of appeal to begin the appeals process. Our next brief is due May 27, 2015.
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.
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.
The tide continues to turn against the United Nations’ continued refusal to be accountable for cholera in Haiti. Since UN peacekeepers sparked the deadly epidemic in 2010, the UN hasn’t taken responsibility for the epidemic or provided any mechanism for victims to make claims. Recently, 4 UN experts wrote an allegation letter to the UN, citing the UN’s responsibility for the epidemic and accusing the UN of violating human rights. In response, the UN Secretary General wrote that the UN is doing all it can to fight the epidemic but also maintained the UN’s immunity from prosecution. This “exchange of letters still shows that there’s a growing movement of UN-linked figures who realize the world body’s position on the outbreak is no longer tenable.” It’s an important step towards justice. How the UN caused a massive cholera outbreak in Haiti … Continue reading
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Mario Joseph, Av., Bureau des Avocats Internationaux (in Haiti), email@example.com, +509‑3938-9831 (French, Creole, English) Brian Concannon, Jr., Esq., Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti (Boston), firstname.lastname@example.org, +1-617-652-0876-263‑0029 (English, French, Creole) Rights Groups Urge Security Council to Address UN Cholera on Haiti Trip Port-au-Prince, Boston, January 21, 2015 — As the United Nations Security Council prepares to travel to Haiti this week, human rights groups in Haiti and the United States are urging the delegation to address the worsening cholera crisis that has plagued Haiti since UN peacekeepers introduced the disease in 2010. Since then, cholera has sickened over 720,000 and killed 8,700 people in Haiti alone— more than the total number of people killed by Ebola worldwide over that span. Members of the Security Council are traveling to Haiti on a three-day trip beginning January … Continue reading
While the UN is leading (unsuccessful) efforts to eradicate cholera from Haiti, it has still not accepted responsibility for causing the epidemic and continues to dodge accountability in court. On January 9, 2015, a judge ruled that the UN is absolutely immune from suit unless it expressly waives immunity. IJDH and BAI lawyers leading this case plan to appeal the decision. Two other lawsuits against the UN are pending. Part of the article is below. Click HERE for the full text. U.N. immune from accountability for cholera in Haiti, says U.S. court Tom Murphy, Humanosphere January 12, 2015 Victims of the cholera outbreak brought to Haiti by U.N. peacekeeping troops from Nepal cannot sue the body in U.S. courts, a district judge ruled. Judge J. Paul Oetken of U.S. District Court in Manhattan agreed with the U.N.’s own assessment that it … Continue reading
This article argues that the January 9th ruling in favor of UN immunity in the cholera case violates Haitians’ human rights. Since the UN has provided no alternate mechanism for the victims to seek justice, they had no choice but to take their case to court. If the UN enjoys absolute immunity, the victims have no way to seek justice for the countless deaths and cases of illness caused by the epidemic the UN brought to Haiti. Part of the article is below. Click HERE for the full text. Five years after Haiti quake, a new setback for cholera victims Rosa Freedman, The Conversation January 12, 2015 January 12 2015 marks 5 years since Haiti was hit by a devastating earthquake hit. Countless victims were killed, homes destroyed, and vital infrastructure reduced to debris. Already one of the world’s poorest and most fragile countries, Haiti … Continue reading
The Haitian Times, an authority on Haiti news in the Diaspora, picked up our press release on the latest development in the cholera case against the United Nations. On January 9th, 2015, a US judge dismissed the lawsuit, declaring the UN absolutely immune from suit. This leaves the victims of the epidemic with nowhere to turn to seek justice, as they have exhausted other methods of seeking a remedy. We will bring the suit to the appeals court and continue seeking justice for Haiti’s cholera victims. Part of the article is below. Click HERE for the full text. Judge Deems UN Immune from Lawsuit for Haiti Cholera Disaster The Haitian Times January 11, 2015 On the eve of the fifth anniversary of the devastating earthquake that hit Haiti in 2010, a U.S. judge dismissed a lawsuit against the United Nations (UN) for … Continue reading
On January 9, 2015, a Manhattan Judge ruled that the UN is absolutely immune from lawsuits unless it expressly waives that immunity. While this is disappointing for Haitian cholera victims, their lawyers, and their advocates, the fight for justice isn’t over. IJDH and BAI will take the case to the appeals court next. Click HERE for the original. U.S. Judge Rules Haitians Cannot Sue U.N. for Cholera Epidemic David Ingram and Louis Charbonnneau, The New York Times January 10, 2015 NEW YORK — Thousands of Haitians killed or sickened by a cholera epidemic that they blame on U.N. peacekeepers cannot sue the United Nations in a U.S. court because the U.N. has legal immunity that only it can waive, a judge has ruled. In a decision late on Friday, Judge J. Paul Oetken of U.S. District Court in Manhattan dismissed a … Continue reading