Toronto Haiti Action Committee

Solidarity. Not Charity. Never Occupation

Toronto Haiti Action Committee - Solidarity. Not Charity. Never Occupation

In the News: U.N. chief served with Haiti cholera complaint, lawyers say

Ban Ki-moon photo by the World Economic Forum

Ban Ki-moon
photo by the World Economic Forum

Lawyers for victims of a cholera epidemic in Haiti said on Friday they have served United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon with a complaint in New York as part of a federal lawsuit seeking compensation for the outbreak, which they blame on U.N. peacekeepers.

Ban was entering an event at The Asia Society in Manhattan when he was handed the court papers by a process server, according to a statement by lawyers representing the plaintiffs.

A U.N. spokesman, however, said Ban was not served because his security did not allow him to accept the complaint.

“Ban Ki-moon was served personally. Not wishing to receive what he was given is not a defense, said Stanley Alpert, one of the attorneys for the plaintiffs. “He must now answer or move or be in default personally and for the U.N.,” he added.

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In the News: Stephen Lewis says United Nations must be accountable for cholera in Haiti

by Roger Annis. Originally posted on rabble.ca

Stephen Lewis

Stephen Lewis (photo by Gordon Griffiths, Apr. 2009)

Stephen Lewis, a former Canadian ambassador to the United Nations who has also served at the world agency in several other prominent postings, says the international organization must accept responsibility for the cholera epidemic that broke out in Haiti in October 2010. He says he supports the legal action against the UN that was formally launched in New York City on October 9 on behalf of the victims of the epidemic.

Lewis spelled out strongly-held views in a nine-minute interview on the national, Saturday morning newsmagazine of CBC Radio One, Day 6 on October 12.

The CBC host began the interview by asking Lewis whether he supports the action. He replied, “I do. I think it is unequivocal, the responsibility of the United Nations for the cholera outbreak.”

Lewis dismissed suggestions that definitive proof of the origin of Haiti’s cholera epidemic has not been established. The disease was not present in modern Haiti before October 2010. The epidemic, he said, “has been traced definitively to the Nepalese peacekeeping force” of the UN military mission in Haiti termed MINUSTAH.

Even the UN’s own study on the matter, he said, “came within a hair’s breath of saying ‘we were responsible’, and in fact, the independent investigations by scientists show there is no question of the origin of the cholera”.

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In the News: A Hero in Haiti

by Pooja Bhatia. Originally posted at ozy.com

Mario Joseph of BAI

Mario Joseph of BAI

To know Mario Joseph is to wait for Mario Joseph. You will wait for him to return from a last-minute hearing, to stop barking into one of his two mobile phones, to wrap up a meeting that started an hour late. And you will wait because Joseph, managing attorney at the NGO Bureau des Avocats Internationaux, is the best human rights lawyer in Haiti, a country where human rights are honored mostly in the breach. From dawn till dusk, clients gather on his office’s bougainvillea-laced terrace: brave women going after rapists, homeless Haitians evicted from post-quake tent camps, cholera victims seeking reparations.

Joseph’s eyes are often red-rimmed from lack of sleep, but his suits are sharp, his ties are sumptuous and his shoes and fingernails are buffed till they shine. With his percussive Creole and typically stern countenance, Joseph can be intimidating. It’s easy to forget that he was raised in rural poverty by a single mother who couldn’t read, and that he managed to get a law degree only through a series of flukes and his own determination. If fate had had its way, Joseph would have been like the millions of Haitians who never attend school, never see a doctor and live on less than $2 per day.

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In the News: UN Chief Tells US it Will Combat Cholera in Haiti

by Edith M. Lederer, Associated Press.

haiti_street_protest_kolera492_2UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told members of the U.S. Congress Friday that the United Nations is committed to helping Haiti overcome a cholera epidemic even though it is refusing to pay compensation to victims who blame U.N. peacekeepers for starting the outbreak.

Health officials say more than 657,000 people have fallen ill and more than 8,000 people have died from cholera since it was likely introduced to Haiti by U.N. troops from Nepal in 2010. More than 30,000 people have fallen ill and 440 have died in the neighboring Dominican Republic.

Ban was responding to a May 30 letter from U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters, a California Democrat, and 18 other Congressional “friends of the people of Haiti” who expressed concern at the U.N.’s rejection of the claims by 5,000 cholera victims and their families.

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