In less than three months, the United Nations will close its controversial 13-year peacekeeping mission known as MINUSTAH. The U.N.’s mission in Haiti has been plagued by a series of controversies ranging from cholera to sexual abuse. After six years of denying its role in the cholera epidemic that has killed 10, 000 Haitians and sickened over 800, 000, the U.N. finally apologized to people of Haiti. Nearly eight months since then Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced the New Approach, the victims of cholera are still waiting on U.N. to deliver on its promises, meanwhile the disease continues to kill at least one Haitian every day.
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Read the full Op-ED HERE.
U.N. continues to stumble — badly — in Haiti
By Lauren Carasik, Miami Herald
April 12, 2017
Nowhere is the United Nations’ lack of accountability more glaring than in Haiti. The U.N. Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) is responsible for causing a cholera epidemic that has killed thousands and for crimes, including sexual exploitation and abuse (SEA), that have largely gone unpunished.
Thursday, as the Security Council votes on the future of MINUSTAH, it has a last chance to ensure that its mission’s legacy includes an accountable response for the harms it has caused. If the United Nations replaces MINUSTAH without doing right by Haiti, its successor mission, whose mandate will focus on promoting rule of law, will lack the credibility to succeed from its inception.
After six years of unconscionably denying its culpability in causing cholera, then-outgoing Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon finally accepted moral responsibility for the U.N.’s role and its “collective responsibility to deliver” relief. He announced the New Approach, a $400 million strategy comprising two tracks: the first focused on upgrading badly failing water, sanitation and health infrastructure systems; and the second entailing “a package of material assistance and support to those Haitians most directly affected by cholera, centered on the victims and their families and communities.”
Observers were cautiously optimistic that the United Nations would finally remediate the harm caused when infected Nepalese peacekeepers recklessly discharged raw sewage, spreading a disease never before reported in poorest country in the Americas.
But instead of acting quickly to fulfill its promise to stanch the epidemic’s lethal toll and aid struggling survivors, the U.N. has stumbled again. On March 19, the New York Times revealed that the organization has only raised $2 million of the $400 million it promised to eradicate the disease and compensate its victims. Of the U.N.’s 193 member states, only six have voluntarily donated to the trust set up to fund the New Approach, with two countries donating just over $7 million to separate anti-cholera efforts. Florida Sen. Marco Rubio is among those urging the U.N. to fulfill its obligation to the people of Haiti. But despite the anemic reception to his fundraising efforts, the Secretary-General is tabling a move to assess mandatory contributions in the face of stiff resistance from certain member states.
Read the full Op-ED HERE.
Lauren Carasik is clinical professor of law and director of the International Human Rrights Clinic at Western New England University School of Law in Springfield, Massachusetts. You can contact the author via her e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org