For years, the United Nations has hidden behind immunity to dodge accountability for bringing cholera to Haiti. After Hurricane Matthew hit Haiti and exacerbated the cholera problem, WHO/PAHO approved a request from the Haitian Ministry of Health for 1 million doses of cholera vaccine. Meanwhile, the UN continues to struggle to raise funds for its planned package of “material assistance and support” for the cholera victims. The UN and its Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon also have yet to apologize for causing the loss of so many lives and livelihoods through the epidemic. Will Ban finally do so in his last two months as Secretary-General or leave the cholera mess for the next Secretary-General, António Guterres, to clean up?
Part of the article is below. Click HERE for the full text.
The UN in Haiti: an adulterated vision of accountability
Editorial, The Lancet Global Health
November 15, 2016
This week, an emergency cholera vaccination campaign was set to begin in one of the world’s most beleaguered countries. Its meagre fortunes laid waste by an earthquake of unimaginable destructive force in 2010, Haiti has continued to suffer a barrage of insults no one population should have to bear.
The earthquake killed more than 200 000 people, left 2 million homeless, and devastated infrastructure including roads, schools, government buildings, and what limited improved water and sanitation facilities existed. Intergovernmental and non-governmental organisations rushed to assist, yet poor collaboration with each other and precious little consultation with the Haitian Government and its people hardly led to the sort of coordinated, strategic, and sustainable response that was so desperately needed. Worse still, the evidence points to one organisation’s representatives as the origin of a disease previously unrecorded in the country—one whose spread is closely linked to unsanitary conditions and poverty, both of which are all too prevalent in Haiti.
Cholera has affected around 800 000 people in Haiti and killed more than 9000 since the outbreak began in October, 2010, yet the UN has stubbornly maintained its position that it is constitutionally immune from any legal responsibility for the effects of a disease that was almost certainly brought in by its peacekeeping staff from Nepal and unleashed on a prostrate population by careless effluent disposal and lack of screening. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon has refused to apologise, consider direct compensation, or institute a specific remedy, preferring—under advice from the UN’s Office of Legal Affairs—to talk of having a “moral responsibility to the people of Haiti” and of developing “a package that would provide material assistance and support”.
Click HERE for the full text.