IADL oral statement on the ongoing cholera epidemic in Haiti

The International Association of Democratic Lawyers (IADL) thanks the Independent Expert on the Situation of Human Rights in Haiti, Mr. Gustavo Gallón, for his work.  We call the attention of the Human Rights Council to the ongoing cholera epidemic in Haiti and the continued failure of the United Nations to provide victims any access to a remedy, as required under human rights law.

Cholera continues to ravage Haiti. The Haitian Government has recorded 9,200 deaths and 770,000 hospitalizations since UN peacekeepers caused the outbreak 5 years ago. A newly released Medecins Sans Frontieres study suggests the true death toll may be three times higher.

We welcome the Independent Expert identifying the cholera epidemic as an issue requiring intense and focused action. His repeated recommendation that a “commission on truth, justice, and redress for cholera victims” be created is an important call to the United Nations to respect victims’ most basic human rights.

We also draw the attention of the Council to the joint communications sent by UN Special Procedures to the Secretary-General, calling on the UN to respect victims’ right to an effective remedy.  We reiterate their statement that it is “essential that the victims of cholera have a transparent, independent and impartial mechanism that can review their claims and decide on the merits of those claims in order to ensure adequate reparation.”

We call upon the Human Rights Council to urge the UN Secretariat to take responsibility for the UN’s role in the cholera epidemic and work with the Special Procedures to devise a solution that guarantees victims’ fundamental right to an effective remedy.

The UN’s wrongful actions have violated hundreds of thousands of Haitians right to life, health, clean water, sanitation and a healthy environment. By denying justice to victims, the UN not only fails to comply with human rights law, but also jeopardizes its moral credibility and undermines its work around the world.

23rd March 2016

Download IADl statement on Haiti HRC31