Haitians Protest for UN Cholera Compensation

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By Staff
BBC | Canada Haiti Action Network

Editorial note from CHAN. The following BBC News report refers to a protest in the city of Saint Marc, Haiti, on Friday, December 9, 2011. Saint Marc, approximately 60 km north of Port au Prince, was the largest city nearest to the UN base where the cholera epidemic originated in October 2010. The protest was organized jointly by Vic­tims from the Art­i­bonite Region, Bureau des Avo­cats Inter­na­tionaux (BAI) and Groupe d’Action pour la Defense des Droits Humains (GADH).

 

Bureau des Avocats Internationaux (BAI) Director Mario Joseph, at right, speaking into the microphone. "The UN says it needs more time. We do not have time. Four­teen months later, cholera is sick­en­ing tens of thou­sands of Haitians and killing hun­dreds more each month. The UN must act now to end this injustice."

Several thousand people have taken part in a protest in Haiti, demanding that the United Nations pays compensation to people with cholera. The protesters say UN peacekeepers inadvertently carried the disease into Haiti, causing an epidemic which has killed almost 7,000 people. Several studies have found that cholera was probably brought to Haiti by UN troops from Nepal.

A U.S.-based rights group has filed for pay-outs for thousands of the victims. The Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti (IJDH) says it is prepared to go to court in Haiti or the US if the UN does not respond to the claims, which amount to hundreds of millions of dollars. It says the UN mission in Haiti failed to screen peacekeepers for cholera and allowed untreated waste from a UN base to be dumped into the main river.

The UN has accepted the possibility peacekeepers from Nepal may have brought cholera in, but says this has yet to be proven scientifically. It says it is continuing to do everything it can to bring the spread of the disease under control in the poverty-stricken nation. Almost 500,000 people – some 5% of the population – have been infected by cholera since the outbreak began in October 2010, according to the Haitian Ministry of Health.

 

Sources: BBCCHAN (editorial note, photos from the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti and Bureau des Avocats Internationaux)

 

Dady Chery

About Dady Chery

Dr. Dady Chery is a Haitian-born journalist, playwright, essayist, and poet. She is the author of "We Have Dared to Be Free: Haiti's Struggle Against Occupation." Her broad interests encompass science, culture, and human rights. She writes extensively about Haiti and world issues such as climate change and social justice. Her many contributions to Haitian news include the first proposal that Haiti’s cholera had been imported by the UN, and the first story describing Haiti’s mineral wealth.

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