Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti

Nicolas Lemay-Hébert Interviewed Brian Concannon on UN Accountability for Haiti’s Cholera

This Interview was first published in the Journal of Intervention and Statebuilding Dr. Nicolas Lemay-Hébert interviewed Brian Concannon, Director of the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti (IJDH), on 22 July 2017. IJDH, along with its sister group, the Bureau des Avocats Internationaux (BAI) in Haiti, have spearheaded a campaign to push the United Nations (UN) to recognize its responsibility in bringing cholera to Haiti, a decision that will certainly have ramifications for the future of international peacekeeping. In the name of thousands of victims in Haiti, IJDH has decided to sue the United Nations in New York for their responsibility in bringing cholera to the country. Can you tell us more about the genesis of the campaign and why IJDH has decided to address this specific issue? As soon as the outbreak was reported, Haitians started pointing at the UN base in […]

UN Poisoning of Roma in Kosovo Mirrors Haiti Cholera

When Roma families moved onto land contaminated with lead, health experts warned the United Nations that the land was toxic and the families should be relocated. Even so, the residents were left there for years accumulating health problems, especially among expecting mothers, children and the elderly, because of the toxic soil and dust in the region. For perhaps a decade, victims of this poisoning and their advocates have been seeking an apology and compensation from the UN but their efforts have been frustrated just like the efforts of cholera victims and their advocates: If the UN goes too far in acknowledging its responsibility, it may be legally bound to actually pay for its negligence. Part of the article is below. Read the full text here. Roma Sickened in U.N. Camps Are Still Waiting for Redress Rick Gladstone, The New York Times April 18, […]

U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley Presses for UN Accountability

U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley addressed the UN Security Council (UNSC) Thursday after the UNSC voted to withdraw MINUSTAH in October and replace it with a much smaller police force. UN peacekeepers have been getting away with sexual abuse because it is up to their home countries to prosecute them for their crimes. This is even true for the 134 Sri Lankan troops who ran a sex ring in Haiti with nine children as young as 12: Not one was jailed and Sri Lanka continued sending peacekeepers to Haiti. As professor Mark Schuller says: “The U.N. is not accountable to the Haitian government or people. That creates a culture of implied immunity.” U.S. Envoy Says U.N. Peacekeepers Must Be Punished for Sexual Abuse Edith M. Lederer and Paisley Dodd, TIME April 13, 2017 (UNITED NATIONS) — U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley on Thursday […]

UN Credibility at Risk with Lack of Promised Action Against Cholera

On December 1, 2016 when UN Secretary-General at the time, Ban Ki-moon, announced a new approach to cholera in Haiti, victims and advocates rejoiced at the UN finally taking a step towards the justice that had been denied for six years. Of the $400 million promised that day though, only $2.7 million has been received and $10 million total including pledged contributions. It seems that the new Secretary General, António Guterres is also leaning towards not asking for assessed contributions from UN member states despite their inaction in funding this plan. After six years of denial and dodging accountability for cholera, a failure to follow through on this new plan would do irreparable damage to the UN and its role in promoting human rights all over the world. Part of the article is below. Read the full article here. Will State […]

Secretary-General Guterres Must Ensure the UN’s Moral Debt to Haiti is Paid

In December 2016, after six years of trying to avoid blame for the cholera epidemic it brought to Haiti in 2010, the United Nations apologized for its role and announced a $00 million New Approach to dealing with cholera. Months later, the fund has only raised about $2 million – from voluntary contributions from South Korea, France Chile, India and Liechtenstein. It is now up to a new Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, to make sure the New Approach continues.  He “needs to use every bit of skill and good will to compel and cajole member nations and philanthropies to make the cholera campaign succeed — and with it, to settle the United Nations’ moral debt to Haiti.” Part of the editorial is below. Click HERE for the full text. U.N. Accepts Blame but Dodges the Bill in Haiti Editorial Board, The […]

UN Cholera Accountability on Hold Due to Funding Struggles

Last year, as the term of Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General at the time, came to an end, the United Nations finally admitted the role the UN played in Haiti’s cholera epidemic and said the UN didn’t do enough to end the epidemic. Ban Ki-moon then promised to develop a new strategy to fight cholera. This strategy still hasn’t been implemented due to an extreme lack of funding from UN member states. The new Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, is struggling to come up with new ideas of how to raise funds, which are currently at less than $10 million out of the $400 million the UN promised to Haiti. What will it take, and how long until the UN has the funds to be accountable for the epidemic it caused? Part of the article is below. Click HERE for the full text. UN […]

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