Expert Workshop on Resolving the Cholera Crisis in Haiti

Social Sciences
Monday 7th December 2015 (00:00)
Download the date to your calendar (.ics file)

Dr. Rosa Freedman and Dr. Nicolas Lemay-Hébert, with the support of the University of Birmingham  will convene an Expert Workshop on 07 December 2015. The event provides a unique opportunity to bring together leading experts to develop the structure and substance of a potential remedial framework grounded in international law, reflective of policy concerns, responsive to the rights of victims of the cholera epidemic, and respectful of the legal and policy concerns of the UN.

This workshop will be working on Chatham House Rules and won't be open to public, but the outcome document will be made available as soon as possible after the event.

The expert workshop will center on the structure, process and substance of remedies for the cholera victims. In light of the determination made by the UN's Independent Panel of Experts that "personnel associated with the Mirebalais MINUSTAH facility were the most likely source of introduction of cholera into Haiti," the workshop will not examine the origins of the epidemic. Nor will the workshop address technical aspects of improving access to water and sanitation, given that the UN has publicly endorsed the Initiative for the Elimination of Cholera in the Island of Hispaniola as developed by the governments of Haiti and the Dominican Republic.

Key questions to be addressed by the Expert Workshop:

  • What components would an ideal resolution framework include?
  • Are there processes that need to be established to determine what remedies should be provided?
  • Is compensation desirable? If so, what might a compensation framework look like? How would it be structured and implemented in the Haitian context?
  • Is a public acknowledgement of responsibility or apology from the UN desirable? If so, what might such a statement look like?
  • What would be required in terms of political and financial investment to operationalize the Initiative for the Elimination of Cholera in the Island of Hispaniola, as drafted by the Haitian and Dominican governments in 2012?
  • What structures and processes would need to be put in place in order for remedies to be administered?
  • What are other actions are necessary to advance resolution efforts and break out of the current impasse?

Background documents

  1. Chronology of Key Events and Developments (WORD 32KB)
  2. Amnesty International Report (2015) (PDF 100KB)
  3. Independent Panel of Experts on the Cholera Outbreak in Haiti (PDF 1.3MB)
  4. Special Rapporteur Allegation Letter 2014 (PDF 183KB)
  5. UN Response (PDF 4MB)
  6. Yale Report - Peacekeeping without Accountability (PDF 4.68MB)
  7. Summary of Literature (WORD 38KB)

Primary Sources

  1. Convention on the Privileges and Immunities of the UN (PDF 167KB)
  2. Model Status of Forces Agreement (PDF 198KB)
  3. MINUSTAH Status of Forces Agreement (PDF 5MB)
  4. UN Support Plan 2014-2015 (PDF 879KB)
  5. National Plan for the Elimination of Cholera in Haiti (PDF 3MB)
  6. GA Resolution 'Third-party liability: temporal and financial limitations' (PDF 20KB)

Media Articles by Workshop Convenors

Haitians' Rights Were Violated Over Cholera Outbreak, UN Experts Assert PassBlue 20 April 2015

Five years after Haiti quake, a new setback for cholera victims The Conversation 12 January 2015

Haitian cholera victims could soon bring the UN to court The Conversation 8 October 2014

Haiti Cholera Claims: Absolute Immunity vs Human Rights Int Law Grrls 9 July 2013

Haiti Cholera Claims: Ultimatum to the United Nations Huffington Post 9 May 2013

Scholarship by Workshop Convenors

R. Freedman and N. Lemay-Hébert, ‘”Jistis ak reparasyon pou tout viktim kolera MINUSTAH”: The United Nations and the Right to Health in Haiti’ Leiden Journal of International Law (2015), 507-527

R. Freedman and N. Lemay-Hébert, ‘Towards an alternative interpretation of UN immunity: A human rights-based approach to the Haiti Cholera Case’, QIL-Questions of International Law, Zoom-in 19, (2015), 5-18 (with Nicolas Lemay-Hebert) (paper by invitation)

R. Freedman, 'UN Immunity or Impunity?: A human rights based challenge’, 25 (1)  European Journal of International Law, (2014), 239–254

N. Lemay-Hébert, Resistance in the Time of Cholera: The Limits of Stabilization through Securitization in Haiti, 21 (2) International Peacekeeping (2014), 198-213.