University of Miami Law Review


Brianna Sainte


The United Nations (“U.N.”) has been looked at globally and historically as an international organization that has given aid to millions of people in the hopes of promoting peace and reducing human rights violations. It is no surprise then that many countries have welcomed U.N. troops with open arms in the hopes of stabilizing communities. However, instead of receiving aid, imagine receiving a deadly disease. Imagine having the nearby river that has been your only source of water for drinking, laundry, and bathing for decades turned into a waste dump. It is from that river turned waste dump that you—and hundreds of thousands of other innocent people—have now contracted cholera.

This was the reality for thousands of Haitian citizens who now continue to suffer from cholera due to a U.N. base’s negligent disposal of its troops’ waste into a river the Haitian citizens depended on for survival. Despite being responsible for the cholera epidemic now plaguing Haiti—a third world country with too few resources struggling to support its citizens—the U.N. has failed to not only properly respond to the outbreak, but also to accept legal responsibility.

This Note discusses different options to bring about financial, legal, and actual relief to the victims of the cholera outbreak in Haiti. It reviews the failed attempts of Haitian victims to hold the U.N. legally accountable for its actions and seeks to answer the following question: in what ways can relief be achieved, if at all, in the human rights realm.