For those who have followed HAWG’s cholera advocacy and supported our campaign: your support has enabled our campaign to achieve what just six months ago seemed impossible.  Very significant steps towards cholera justice have been taken in recent weeks. We’d like you to know just what you helped make happen:

  • On September 20, 2016 at the opening of the UNGA, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon expressed “tremendous regret and sorrow at the profound suffering of Haitians affected by cholera” and said that “time has come for a new approach to ease the plight and better their lives”
  • Earlier that month the UN Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights criticized the UN’s approach as “morally unconscionable, legally indefensible, and politically self-defeating”

A UN issued report recommended that the UN Secretariat take four steps:

  1. Issue an apology and an acceptance of responsibility in the name of the Secretary-General;
  2. Acknowledge that the claims submitted by victims are private law claims and therefore require an appropriate remedy;
  3. Provide adequate compensation for victims
  4. Ensure consultation with stakeholders in a transparent manner

The UN later announced that it is mobilizing $400 million for the new response to be delivered via a two track system. 

Thanks to your support we have gained remarkable ground in recent months.  However, our cholera campaign is not quite finished yet.  Our community must now hold the UN to its promises and make sure that their words are followed with action, notably the following steps:

  • The Secretary-General must issue a public apology to the Haitian people before he leaves office in December 2016.
  • Victims must have a key voice in determining the details of the new plan, including through a robust consultation process.
  • UN Member States must fund the new plan.
  • The UN must make concrete commitments to cholera elimination (the $400 million currently being raised only covers cholera control and material assistance).

We will keep you posted as we prepare to advocacy for cholera advocacy with the incoming Administration. In the meantime, we express a heartfelt thank you for supporting our campaign for cholera advocacy.

A full narrative of the shifts at the UN is available here.