Tell the UN to Ensure Rights of Cholera Victims in Haiti

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Please take two minutes to sign the petition to “Ask the UN to Stand Up for Haitian Cholera Victims' Human Rights on Human Rights Day.”



This Human Rights Day, ask UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navanethem Pillay, to stand up for victims of the cholera epidemic that UN peacekeepers introduced to Haiti in October 2010. A UN report confirmed that “overwhelming evidence” points to peacekeepers of the UN Stabilization Mission to Haiti (MINUSTAH) as the source of the cholera introduced to Haiti in October 2010. The report places responsibility for the spread of cholera on both the Mission’s failure to test peacekeepers deployed from cholera epidemic zones abroad and poor waste disposal practices that allowed raw sewage to flow into Haiti’s largest river system. Haitians’ rights to health and to life are being violated: over 7,000 people have died and 500,000 have fallen sick since the cholera epidemic started. Yet the UN has declined to provide the medical treatment and clean water necessary to control the epidemic, and refused to allow the victims their day in court. This is in violation of the rights enshrined in the UDHR, which includes the rights to life (Art. 3), health (Art. 25) and access to competent national tribunals for rights violations.

UN High Commissioner Pillay, who has a record of courageously and successfully standing up for victims of human rights violations, calls her Commission "the voice of the victim everywhere," and should be a strong advocate for Haitian cholera victims, almost all of whom are desperately poor.

The UN is now blocking cholera victims from challenging their legal claims in a fair and impartial tribunal. A Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) with the Haitian government confers the UN immunity from suits in Haitian courts, and in seven years MINUSTAH has never waived this immunity or established the Standing Claims Commission required by the SOFA. On November 3, 2011, five thousand cholera victims filed complaints asking the UN to respond justly to the cholera or provide a fair mechanism for trying their claims. The UN, however, has not yet responded.

The UN’s failure to respect the rights enshrined in the UDHR, one of its foundational documents, or to respond justly to Haiti’s cholera epidemic, when the liability is so clear and the devastation so great, is an injustice that must end.

Please take two minutes to sign this petition now.