Ban Ki-moon "profoundly sorry" for U.N role in deadly cholera outbreak in Haiti

Posted by on Thursday, December 1, 2016 Under: Diplomacy
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United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, apologized to the people of Haiti on Thursday, for the global organisation's role in a deadly cholera outbreak that has killed nearly 10.000 Haitians and sickened over 800.000 more.

Cholera was unknown to Haiti until its introduction to the country in 2010, after UN Nepalese peacekeepers dumped raw sewage into Haiti's longest river.

“On behalf of the United Nations, I want to say very clearly: we apologize to the Haitian people. We simply did not do enough with regard to the cholera outbreak and its spread in Haiti. We are profoundly sorry for our role,” Mr. Ban told UN Member States in Creole, French and English

Ban Ki-moon was speaking at a gathering of the General Assembly at UN Headquarters in New York, where a report entitled A New approach to cholera in Haiti was being shared with members.

Two months ago, the UN proposed a package of  $400 million over the next two years; half to compensate victims and the other half to help Haiti rebuild its water and sanitation system and improved access to care and treatment. 

“I understand the reaction of being overwhelmed by what seems to be a never-ending list of pressing humanitarian needs around the world. In Haiti’s case, the hurricane has brought added suffering and understandably diverted resources,” Mr. Ban told the Member State representatives, conscious of the challenges to raise such a high amount of money. 

 "a concrete expression of the regret of our organization for the suffering," 

“Yet,” he continued, “I want to stress that on the scale of global humanitarian and development needs, limited sums are required to eliminate cholera in Haiti. This mission is realistic and doable. Cholera is a treatable and preventable disease. It can be controlled and eliminated. What is standing in the way is adequate resources and means of delivery.”

It should be noted that while Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has apologized to Haiti, the United Nations denies any legal responsibility and continues to claim immunity in US courts where it is being sued on behalf of the cholera victims.

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