Over 5,000 Haitian Cholera Victims Sue UN, Seeking Justice

Tuesday, November 8, 2011, New York, Port-au-Prince — On Thursday, November 3, 2011, over 5,000 Haitians, all victims of cholera or relatives of victims, submitted claims to the United Nations (UN) and the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH), for damages from MINUSTAH’s October 2010 introduction of cholera into Haiti. The cholera epidemic has killed over 6,600 Haitians and sickened over 475,000 to date. The epidemic is ongoing.

Attorneys deliver claims requesting compensation and constructive action for the UN’s introduction of cholera to Haiti

The victims’ petition explains that the UN and MINUSTAH are liable for hundreds of millions of dollars for: 1) failing to adequately screen and treat peacekeeping soldiers arriving from countries experiencing cholera epidemics; 2) dumping untreated wastes from a UN base directly into a tributary of Haiti’s longest and most important river, the Artibonite; and 3) failing to adequately respond to the epidemic.

The cholera victims demand individual compensation, an adequate nationwide response by the UN, and a public apology. They insist that the nationwide response include medical treatment for current and future victims and clean water and sanitation infrastructure, the only solution to the cholera epidemic.

BAI Managing Attorney Mario Joseph said, “This is an opportunity for the United Nations to demonstrate that its stated ideals of eliminating disease and encouraging respect for rights are not just empty promises.”

Brian Concannon, IJDH’s Director, added, “The majority of the petition’s facts come from UN reports. The UN developed much of the law we cite. Our clients are challenging the institution to act consistently with what it knows to be true and just.”

For more information, including case documents and background materials, see www.IJDH.org.