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 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.
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.
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
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
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
This article describes in detail the origin of the cholera epidemic in Haiti, the UN’s failure to provide the victims justice since the epidemic began in 2010, and the litigation that is trying to force the UN to be accountable for its (in)actions. At the center of all this is the demand that UN immunity not be treated as impunity. An excerpt is below. Click HERE for the full text. Access to Justice for Victims of Cholera in Haiti: Accountability for U.N. Torts in U.S. Court Beatrice Lindstrom, Shannon Jonsson, and Gillian Stoddard Leatherberry; Boston University’s International Law Journal November 3, 2014 … As the human costs of a lack of U.N. accountability grow, the international community, including U.N. insiders, is beginning to recognize that in some cases immunity should give way to the need for accountability from an otherwise … Continue reading
This article was written for Omvärlden, the Swedish Development Agency’s magazine. It is the first of two articles they wrote about the October 23 cholera hearing. (Here‘s the 2nd.) An unofficial translation is below. HERE‘s a link to the original article. Court Weighs UN’s Immunity Anki Wood, OmVarlden October 29, 2014 On Thursday, a court hearing was held in New York, where five Haitians are holding the UN to account for having caused the cholera epidemic that has taken thousands of lives in the country since 2011. The UN has asserted its immunity and the court is now set to decide if the case can continue. The cholera epidemic is believed to be caused by a Nepalese peacekeeping troop that arrived just a week before the outbreak. Medical experts have in several different studies demonstrated that the active bacteria strain was … Continue reading
This article describes the cholera epidemic in Haiti, as well as the October 23 oral arguments on the question of UN immunity. It also compares the cholera epidemic to the Ebola epidemic in West Africa, both of which are exacerbated (or even allowed) by poverty. Ebola is very difficult to combat but cholera is, fortunately, easy to fight and prevent. What would help most is the UN taking responsibility for the epidemic it caused and helping Haiti build the water and sanitation infrastructure it needs to be cholera-free. An excerpt is below. Click HERE for the full text. There’s an Epidemic on Trial in New York — But It’s Not Ebola Lauren Carasik, VICE News October 27, 2014 … The UN has declined to appear in court on its own behalf. Instead, Assistant US Attorney Ellen Blain argued that as both … Continue reading