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Thursday, September 26, 2013

Student Natalie Miller Puts Human Rights Education into Practice

970892_10151952506328298_381888563_n.jpgNatalie Miller, a senior majoring in Global Studies, has put her human rights education into practice through her dedicated work with Haiti Justice Alliance, an NGO that strives to support a network of Haitian human rights organizations. Haiti Justice Alliance works diligently with their partner groups to establish a collaborative model of pursuing sustainable change in Haiti. This organization empowers Haitian groups in their efforts to implement root-level projects, as they believe this in essential in bringing about sustainable and meaningful change.

Most recently, Natalie has dedicated herself to a particular project Haiti Justice Alliance is carrying out with the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti. The project is titled the "Cholera Accountability Project", and is working to hold UN officials accountable for their part in the Cholera outbreak in Haiti in 2010. Cholera continues to constitute a grave medical emergency in Haiti, and overwhelming evidence has established that reckless disposal of human waste by a United Nations (UN) peacekeeping base in Mirebalais poisoned Haiti's rivers with a particularly deadly strain of cholera bacteria and created the epidemic. Now, despite even UN Special Envoy to Haiti Bill Clinton's acknowledgment that the UN was the "proximate cause" of the epidemic, the UN refused to accept responsibility and control cholera in Haiti. Natalie has worked with Haiti Justice Alliance organizing speaking tours, fundraisers, and advocacy efforts around this topic. Last year, Natalie brought lawyers from the case against the UN to Minnesota to speak about the issue and their experience (it is not very popular to bring a case against the UN!). Natalie's work with Haiti Justice Alliance is a great example of international solidarity in upholding universal human rights standards, while remaining socially conscious (at both local and international levels) in her human rights work.