A decade after U.N.-linked cholera outbreak, Haitians demand justice

Originally published in Reuters. An excerpt is below.

“Human rights organisations have filed several lawsuits on behalf of cholera victims demanding financial compensation from the U.N.

The U.S.-based Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti (IJDH) filed legal claims with the U.N. in 2011 that were rejected.

It then filed a class action lawsuit in a U.S. federal court, which in 2016 upheld the U.N.’s immunity from damages.

Sandra Wisner, senior staff attorney for the IJDH, said victims had been denied effective remedies.

‘The U.N.’s denial of justice and violation of victims’ rights has really meant that thousands of Haitian families continue to suffer from the particularly devastating impacts of cholera, including serious economic and social harms,’ she said.

Human rights lawyers say poor Haitians with little or no access to clean water and sanitation were hit hardest.

‘For the at least 10,000 people who have lost loved ones, the only thing that has happened is a handful of community projects in a couple of the most affected communities in Haiti,’ said Beatrice Lindstrom, who was lead counsel in IJDH’s class action lawsuit.

‘But these projects don’t go to actually addressing directly the injuries that people suffered,’ said Lindstrom, who now teaches at Harvard Law School.”

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