UN Peacekeeping Troops Blamed for Cholera Outbreak – Report

UN Peacekeeping Troops Blamed for Cholera Outbreak - Report
Haiti’s cholera epidemic was caused by UN peacekeepers

AFRICANGLOBE – The United Nations Peacekeeping Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) should be held accountable for the cholera outbreak that has killed more than 7,000 people since October 2010, according to a new report released here.

The report by Yale University, titled “Peacekeeping without Accountability,” claims there is sufficient scientific evidence to show that UN troops from Neap brought the virus to the French-speaking Caribbean Community (CARICOM) country.

The UN has in the past indicated that it enjoys legal immunity from such claims and has dismissed an earlier attempt by a US-based human rights group that sought compensation on behalf of a group of Haitians.

The Yale report also indicates that the UN violated obligations under international law by not providing a forum to address the grievances of cholera victims.

It said that by failing to hold itself accountable for causing the cholera outbreak, the UN violates the very principles of accountability and respect for law that it promotes worldwide.

Several scientific papers have suggested that cholera was introduced to Haiti in October 2010 shortly after a filthy battalion from Nepal arrived. The disease is endemic in Nepal.

One study claimed that a local contractor failed to properly sanitize the waste of a UN base, and the bacteria leaked into a tributary of one of Haiti’s biggest rivers.

Health officials say Haiti’s cholera outbreak has since killed more than 7,500 people and sickened another 578,409.

The Yale study also notes that the United Nations has promised a standing claims commission under agreements signed with the Haitian government, but has never honoured this obligation in Haiti “or anywhere else in the world, despite having entered into 32 such agreements since 1990.

“As a result a meaningful mechanism to ensure peacekeeper accountability has been rendered a nullity,” the report stated, noting that  calls for a claims commission, a public apology, support for victims and adequate funding for the prevention and treatment of cholera.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced in December a $2.27 billion initiative to help eradicate cholera in Haiti and the Dominican Republic.