UN Special Rapporteur Philip Alston, who criticized the UN cholera response as “morally unconscionable, legally indefensible and politically self-defeating,” presented to the Third Committee of the UN General Assembly today. There was time for UN member states to make statements and ask him questions. Below are the statement and question from Jamaican Ambassador Rattray.
Intervention by Jamaica in the interactive dialogue between the Third Committee and the Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and Extreme Poverty
25 October 2016
My delegation thanks the special rapporteur for his presentation today. We have read with keen interest his groundbreaking report on the situation surrounding the introduction and outbreak of cholera in Haiti.
The report gives us hope. It renews in us a confidence that the calamitous situation in Haiti and the UN’s denial of responsibility has not gone unnoticed. Countless lives were lost and others devastated by what occurred in Haiti, a close neighbour of Jamaica. We concur with the SR that the “abdication approach” that was undertaken by the UN does a grave disservice to the people of Haiti, which is a founding Member of this organisation. This approach has also called into question our organization’s impartiality and credibility. Just yesterday, we read in the New York Times of the “damage that cholera has done to the reputation of the United Nations, which regularly presses governments around the world to pursue accountability.”
While we welcome the announcement of an assistance package, we emphasize that the humanitarian response should not be conflated with the responsibility to provide redress to those affected by the cholera outbreak. Furthermore, every effort must be made, in collaboration with Haiti and its partners, to advance Haiti’s development goals including to build resilience and reduce vulnerability.
We would ask the Special Rapporteur:
– What role does he believe that Member States can play, whether through the General Assembly or another organ or subsidiary body, to move our organization’s response further in the right direction?