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:
- The installation of a national water and sanitation system that will control the epidemic,
- Compensation for individual victims of cholera for their losses,
- 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.” Following the dismissal, their strategy was largely 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.
The United Nations’ Apology
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.
Four years later, there has been minimal progress under the New Approach, laying bare these fundamental shortcomings. Haiti’s population remains extremely vulnerable to cholera, communities most affected by the epidemic are still unable to access safe water and sanitation, and direct victims are no closer to obtaining meaningful redress.