Cholera broke out in Haiti in October 2010 for the first time in the country’s history. Multiple genetic and epidemiological studies have established that cholera was introduced to Haiti by a peacekeeping contingent with the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH), which discharged cholera-contaminated sewage into a tributary of Haiti’s largest river system. The UN for years denied its role in the cholera epidemic.
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. IJDH filed a class action suit in New York in October 2013 on behalf of a putative class of all people injured or killed by cholera.
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The United Nations’ Apology
Finally, on 1 December 2016, the UN Secretary-General issued a public apology for the UN’s role in the outbreak and launched a New Approach to Cholera in Haiti. The New Approach is a $400 million USD plan that adopts a two-track strategy: Track 1 focuses on intensified efforts to treat, control and eradicate cholera, and Track 2 promises to deliver “a package of material assistance and support to those Haitians most directly affected by cholera” to be developed in a victim-centered manner, including through consultations with victims. The UN established the UN Haiti Cholera Response Multi-Partner Trust Fund
(MPTF) to generate and manage its resources.
The New Approach presents a critical opportunity to bring the cholera epidemic in Haiti to a halt, help rebuild the lives of tens of thousands of cholera victims and significantly repair the damage done to the UN’s credibility of peacekeeping in Haiti and internationally. The Haitian Government declared full support for the plan and the General Assembly welcomed the New Approach in a resolution passed on 16 December 2016, calling on all Member States to provide their full support. Over a year later, however, serious concerns exist with respect to its implementation. Visit the Time2Deliver website for more information on the MPTF.
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