Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti

Matthew Reminds Us of UN Role in Haiti Cholera Epidemic

This story tracks cholera in Haiti, from when United Nations peacekeepers first brought the previously-unknown disease to Haiti in 2010 to the UN finally admitting involvement in the epidemic in 2016. When the epidemic first began, the UN tried to cover up its involvement and the World Health Organization helped by saying that the focus needed to be on stopping the disease rather than finding the origin. For years, the UN denied involvement and also dodged responsibility in court, using immunity against the lawsuit IJDH filed against it. Now that Hurricane Matthew has brought more water into Haiti, the risk of cholera spiking has increased. What will the UN do about it? The UN’s Role in the Devastating Cholera Epidemic in Haiti Gillian Mahoney, ABC News October 20, 2016 As Hurricane Matthew churned off the coast of Haiti earlier this month […]

Time for Haiti’s Government to Demand Cholera Justice

BAI’s Mario Joseph, along with about 100 cholera victims, protested in front of Haiti’s presidential palace this week. They asked the Haitian government to speak in favor of justice for Haiti’s cholera victims, especially now that the United Nations has finally admitted its involvement in the epidemic. Many believe the Haitian government has been afraid to speak out in the past because of its reliance on Haiti’s UN force, MINUSTAH. Part of the article is below. Click HERE for the full text. Haiti cholera victims protest against UN Jamaica Observer September 13, 2016 PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AFP) — Around 100 Haitian cholera victims protested Monday in front of the presidential palace demanding that the Government obtain damages from the United Nations, whose peacekeepers are blamed for the epidemic. “We are here so that (interim president) Jocelerme Privert finally takes the victims’ […]

Will the UN finally stop stonewalling Haiti’s cholera victims?

The last few weeks have brought damning reports about the UN’s actions regarding cholera in Haiti. Finally, there was a glimmer of hope when for the first time in almost six years, a UN spokesperson admitted UN involvement in the cholera epidemic. The glimmer was dimmed by an Appeals Court’s decision to uphold UN immunity in a case on behalf of the cholera victims. The UN, however, has welcomed the recommendations from one of the two damning reports, and promises to reveal some new actions against cholera in the coming two months. Are these signs that the UN may finally take concrete action against the epidemic it started back in October 2010? ——— UN stonewall on Haiti cholera epidemic starts to crumble George Russell, Fox News August 19, 2016 The United Nations’ wall of denial concerning its responsibility for Haiti’s six-year-old […]

Does UN Admission of Cholera Responsibility Signal a Shift in the Future Response?

For nearly six years, the United Nations lied about, covered up, and stonewalled regarding its involvement in the Haitian cholera epidemic. Now that several reports, including one from a UN adviser, have condemned the UN response, it appears that the UN is finally starting to shift its position. Perhaps it has something to do with Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s term coming to an end, especially given the damage the cholera response has done to the UN’s reputation all over the world. Whether concrete action is really coming, though, remains to be seen. Part of the article is below. Click HERE for the full text. The U.N.’s Cholera Admission and What Comes Next Jonathan M. Katz, The New York Times August 19, 2016 This week, a phrase came out of United Nations headquarters that I thought I would never hear. A spokesman […]

New Report Reveals Abysmal Sanitation Practices on UN Bases in Haiti

A recently-released report shows that sanitation and water purification practices on MINUSTAH bases in Haiti were even worse than previous reports have indicated, including years of dumping sewage into Haiti’s canals even after the cholera epidemic had begun. This calls into question the credibility of UN efforts to improve Haiti’s water and sanitation systems, especially as these practices continued even after the UN launched its cholera elimination plan. At least 9,300 Haitians have died of cholera and 780,000 have been infected. —— Amid Haiti cholera epidemic, UN peacekeepers spill sewage and ignore water treatment, says internal report George Russell, Fox News August 11, 2016 While the United Nations touted its efforts in Haiti aimed at ending the world’s worst modern cholera epidemic — a calamity many experts assert the U.N. itself caused — U.N. peacekeepers were blatantly violating their own sanitary rules for containing the […]

How UN Immunity is Allowing Human Rights Violations

United Nations peacekeepers brought cholera to Haiti in 2010 and have used “absolute immunity as a bureaucratic tactic to avoid responsibility” since then, despite over 9000 deaths from and over 770,000 cases of cholera in Haiti. This article discusses how the UN’s self-protective ducking behind immunity is actually self-destructive for an organization purported to stand for human rights. Part of the article is below. Click HERE for the full text. No Immunity from Cholera: the UN’s Role in the 2010 Haitian Outbreak Madlen Nash, McGill Blog July 22, 2016 The United Nations cannot claim to address and prevent human rights violations while simultaneously failing to acknowledge the culture of impunity and alarming lack of accountability within the organization. Immunity should exist solely to ensure the security of UN peacekeepers during their missions. Instead, the UN uses absolute immunity as a bureaucratic tactic […]

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