Finding justice for cholera victims in Haiti

Margaret Satterthwaite '99 moderated the panel.On September 30, 2013, the Institute for International Law and Justice (IILJ) and the Center for Human Rights and Global Justice (CHRGJ) jointly hosted a panel discussion on the cholera epidemic in Haiti. The panel included José Alvarez, Herbert and Rose Rubin Professor of International Law at NYU School of Law; Beatrice Lindstrom ’10, a human rights attorney with the Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti (IJDH); and Dr. Rishi Rattan, an adviser to the government of Haiti on building national water infrastructure. Margaret Satterthwaite '99, faculty director of the CHRGJ, moderated the discussion.

José Alvarez, Herbert and Rose Rubin Professor of International LawThe panelists recounted the events that led to the cholera epidemic in Haiti and explored the legal issues that arise in the pursuit of obtaining legal accountability against an organization like the United Nations. Lindstrom—who, through IJDH, represents some 5,000 Haitian cholera victims—discussed the Institute’s efforts to attain legal accountability. All three panelists expressed extreme disappointment in the U.N.’s response to the crisis—which has claimed the lives of at least 8,000 Haitians and sickened thousands more—including its total failure to accept any responsibility for the disease and its devastating consequences. Alvarez concluded, “It is appalling not to have an open airing of the facts . . . and this blanket assertion [by the U.N.] that these claims are not receivable is, at a minimum, the worst public relations campaign I have ever seen.”

Posted on October 22, 2013