Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti

Advocacy helped win cholera justice, but more needs to be done

This article outlines the cholera epidemic in Haiti in terms of the advocacy around justice for the victims and our accompanying lawsuit in U.S. courts. After years of downplaying its responsibility for causing the epidemic and dodging accountability, then-Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon finally apologized to Haitians on December 1, 2016. The UN also promised a new $400 million plan to address the epidemic and provide material assistance to the victims but more remains to be done: The money needs to truly be made available while consultations with the victims occur to ensure that their needs are finally met. The UN must take better precautions to ensure that something similar doesn’t happen again in the future. And the UN must accept legal responsibility for the epidemic, as a means to ensure that justice will finally be served. Part of the article is […]

Cholera in Haiti and UN Liability Panel [Video+Article]

IJDH Board member Ira Kurzban participated in an esteemed panel on cholera in Haiti and United Nations accountability for causing the epidemic. Since the start of the epidemic in 2010, over 9,000 Haitians have died and over 800,000 have had cholera and the epidemic is still not under control. While then-Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon apologized for not doing enough to stop the epidemic, Dr. Cadet (one of the panelists) made it clear that “the battle is far from being over.” Though the case against the United Nations may be over in court for now, it continues on the streets through advocacy and spreading the word so the fight for cholera continues until the UN ends the epidemic once and for all. A partial write-up about the panel is below. Here is the full text. UN immunity beats back legal claims by Haitian […]

Why President Obama Should Support Cholera Victim Compensation

United Nations peacekeepers sparked a deadly cholera epidemic in Haiti in 2010, the first time Haiti had cholera in at least a century. For six years after that, the UN stonewalled and dodged responsibility by hiding behind its immunity, while over 10,000 Haitians died and at least 800,000 became ill from cholera. Before President Obama leaves office, he has a chance to help make this right by committing U.S. funds to the victim compensation fund and cholera elimination plan. This would be more than fair, as it appears that the U.S. was a major reason the UN took the “stonewalling position” to begin with. Part of the article is below. Click HERE for the full text. President Obama Should Make Sure that Haitian Victims of UN-Caused Cholera Are Compensated Mark Weisbrot, The Huffington Post January 12, 2017 Seven years after Haiti’s devastating earthquake, President […]

Seoul Daily Paper Criticizes Ban Ki-moon, Especially for Cholera

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon recently stated that he would “burn his own body” if it would help Korea but his indecisive record at the United Nations makes many people doubt that. With the cholera epidemic in Haiti especially, Ban received major criticism for apologizing six years after the UN caused the epidemic. This, despite a UN expert panel establishing the UN fault in 2011 and everyone from cholera victims to UN experts criticizing the lack of UN response for several years. With Ban’s eye now on the Korean presidency, as his UN term has ended, many believe that the belated apology was really just an attempt to erase the cholera stain from Ban Ki-moon’s UN legacy. Part of the article is below. Click HERE for the full text. [Correspondent’s column] Is Ban Ki-moon really willing to burn his own body? Yi Yong-in, The Hankyoreh January […]

UN Cholera Apology’s a First Step But Much More Needs to Be Done

On December 1 before the General Assembly, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon apologized for the cholera epidemic and detailed a $400 million plan to fight the disease. While the apology is a necessary first step towards justice and something that cholera victims have been demanding for years, the UN was very careful not to imply legal responsibility in the apology. Even the description of the plan was “solidarity” rather than accountability or responsibility. This may be contributing to the trouble the UN is having with getting member states to contribute to the plan. The UN must also make sure to fully consider compensating victims and find strategies to do so. Part of the article is below. Click HERE for the full text. The UN’s Apology Won’t Heal Disease, But It’s A First Step to Justice Beatrice Lindstrom, Opinio Juris January 2, 2017 When […]

Mixed Reactions to the UN’s Cholera “Half-Apology”

After sixe years of denial of responsibility for the cholera epidemic UN peacekeepers brought to Haiti in 2010, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon apologized to the Haitian people in three languages. The apology, though welcomed and long-overdue, was later called a “half-apology” by a UN advisor who denounced the UN’s apparent effort to continue dodging legal responsibility. IJDH Executive Director Brian Concannon also emphasized that “the use of the phrase “moral responsibility” was the same language that the UN secretary general used during his trip to Haiti in July 2014, and appeared to be calculated to address the concerns of UN lawyers more than those of the people of Haiti.” Along with the apology, Ban detailed a $400 million plan to combat cholera while noting that previous efforts have faced funding issues. UN admits for first time that peacekeepers brought cholera to Haiti Ed Pilkington […]

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