At the core of the United Nations’ values are human rights and the rule of law. When it comes to the cholera epidemic in Haiti, however, Attorney Tim Howard argues that the UN has completely ignored those values. Although mounds of scientific evidence prove UN peacekeepers’ responsibility for bringing cholera to Haiti in 2010, the UN has remained unaccountable ever since. Many believe that this lack of accountability greatly undermines the UN’s ability to hold others accountable in the future.
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In denying Haiti cholera deaths, UN risks violating its core purpose
Tim Howard, Global Post
November 9, 2014
CAMBRIDGE, England — Late last month, attorneys argued before the US Federal District Court in Manhattan that the United Nations is not immune from liability for the spread of cholera throughout Haiti. The medical science is clear on this point, and none but the UN itself disputes this conclusion.
Yet in denying its role in the Haitian cholera epidemic that has killed more than 8,500 and sickened hundreds of thousands more, the UN jeopardizes its own future.
This much is true: the UN introduced cholera into Haiti in 2010 when it sent peacekeepers from Nepal to the country without constructing adequate sanitation facilities. When they arrived in Haiti, these peacekeepers, assigned to the United Nations Stabilization Mission, were infected with cholera. Until then, Haiti had not experienced a cholera outbreak in more than 200 years.
The Nepalese troops were neither tested nor treated for cholera prior to their deployment. This is despite UN knowledge that Nepal was experiencing a surge in infection at the time, and that the earthquake that ravaged Haiti left the country highly vulnerable to cholera.
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