In an interview with NPR, Jonathan Katz noted that lack of proper sanitation and water access contributes to the persistence of cholera in Haiti. In celebration of World Water Day, the team at IJDH has put together an additional ten reasons to focus on clean water initiatives in Haiti.
1. Eliminate cholera that the United Nations brought to Haiti and put an end to the epidemic sickening and killing people (Reference: NPR)
2. Save 4000+ lives every year from waterborne disease related deaths (Reference: Human Rights Watch)
3. Revolutionize access to basic human rights and dignity (Reference: Special Rapporteur submission)
4. Yield a fivefold return on investment through improving health, education, and creating jobs in establishing an adequate sanitation system. Consequently, inadequate infrastructure can sap as much as 7% of G.D.P. per year. (Reference: Jonathan Katz, New Yorker)
5. When asked if compensating victims and admitting fault would harm the UN or impact future UN operations, former Canadian ambassador to the United Nations, Stephen Lewis said: “No, I don’t think it would compromise the UN. In fact, I think it would do the UN a lot of good to be seen as principled in the face of having caused so much devastation.” (Reference: Rabble)
6. The United Nations has a moral and legal responsibility to do so (Reference: Conyers & 64 Colleagues Write Ambassador Samantha Power Urging UN to Take Responsibility & Remedial Action for Haiti Cholera Outbreak)
7. Opportunity for the UN to fulfill its original mission mandate in Haiti: to restore a secure and stable environment, to promote the political process, to strengthen Haiti’s government institutions and rule-of-law-structures, as well as to promote and to protect human rights. (Reference: MINUSTAH)
8. Promote an already existing UN goal. UN Human Rights Chief Navi Pillay supports “the defence and promotion of human rights and fundamental freedoms” at the Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders, and through Resolution 64/292, the UN recognized the human right to water and sanitation. (References: OHCHR, UN Water for Life)
9. Provide an appropriate and tangible response to Haitian needs (Reference: BBC)
10. Guarantee the basic human rights of the poorest members of the society (Reference: MINUSTAH)
Celebrate World Water Day by learning more about how the United Nations and partner organizations plan to bring clean water and energy to those who need it most around the world.