Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti

State Department Needs to Pressure UN to Act on Cholera in Haiti

In this editorial piece, the Boston Globe explores the issue of cholera in Haiti and explicitly pressures the United Nations to compensate victims. Referencing the bipartisan support voiced in a recent Congressional letter to Secretary of State John Kerry, the article poses the United Nations as clearly at fault for the epidemic. Although it states the expansive nature of a water and sanitation project, it sheds light on the minimal efforts exerted by the UN to help end the epidemic.

Part of the article is below. Click HERE for the full text.

State Dept. should demand UN take responsibility in Haiti

The Boston Globe

July 12, 2016

WHEN A BIPARTISAN group in Congress can agree on something, it’s worth noting. Especially when these lawmakers are pushing for action to save innocent lives and help the victims of a raging public health disaster.

The disaster, in this case, is the unchecked cholera epidemic in Haiti — which took hold after an earthquake in 2010. Despite overwhelming medical evidence that the disease was brought to the island nation by United Nations peacekeepers from Nepal, the UN has largely hidden behind the principle of diplomatic immunity, conveyed by charter in order to protect the body from lawsuits by individual nations. Reaction from the US State Department has also been subdued. But diplomatic niceties are no substitute for moral imperative.

Last month, 158 members of the US House of Representatives sent a letter to Secretary of State John F. Kerry urging the State Department to “exercise its leadership to ensure that the United Nations . . . take concrete steps to eliminate the cholera epidemic introduced to Haiti in 2010 by waste from a UN peacekeeper camp, and to comply with its legal and moral obligations to provide cholera victims with access to an effective remedy.”

Click HERE for the full text.

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