On December 1,before the United Nations General Assembly, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon finally apologized for the UN’s role in the cholera epidemic in Haiti. It was a major moment and much-needed in an effort to salvage Ban’s legacy before he (likely) goes on to run for president of his home South Korea. But the carefully-worded apology didn’t include an acknowledgment of the UN’s fault in the epidemic. A current and a former UN official say that without that, it will be very difficult for the UN to raise funds to support cholera elimination and Ban’s legacy may not be saved after all.
Part of the article is below. Click HERE for the full text.
With an Eye on South Korea’s Presidency, Ban Ki-moon Seeks to Burnish his U.N. Legacy
Colum Lynch, Foreign Policy
December 28, 2016
On Jan. 15, 2016, Australian lawyer Philip Alston paid a visit to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on his 38th-floor office at U.N. headquarters. Alston, the U.N. special rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, was preparing a report that would castigate the United Nations for skirting responsibility for introducing cholera into Haiti more than five years earlier. If Ban hoped to salvage the world body’s good name, as well as his legacy, he had better move fast to right a historical wrong.
“It would be a great pity to go out on this note,” Alston said he later told Ban in what amounted to a thinly veiled warning.
For a man weighing a likely run for the South Korean presidency, the hint of a potential scandal proved persuasive. Ban, 72, subsequently ordered a review of the U.N.’s response to Haiti’s cholera epidemic, which has killed more than 9,000 Haitians.
And so on Dec. 1, after months of deliberation, Ban offered an extraordinary apology to Haitians on behalf of the U.N., ending years of denials about the organization’s complicity in the cholera epidemic. In a carefully crafted statement that acknowledged the U.N.’s moral, if not legal, responsibility, Ban said he was “profoundly sorry” and pressed U.N. member states to cough up as much as $400 million to treat and cure Haiti’s cholera victims.
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