UN Chief Slammed for Taking Photo-Op, Not Responsibility for Cholera Epidemic

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Common Dreams

UN Chief Slammed for Taking Photo-Op, Not Responsibility for Cholera Epidemic

It's "an insult to all Haitians," said Mario Joseph, Managing Attorney of the Bureau des Avocats Internationaux

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who continues to refuse to take responsibility for the cholera epidemic UN troops caused. (UN Photo/Mark Garten)

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who continues to refuse to take responsibility for the cholera epidemic UN troops caused. (UN Photo/Mark Garten)

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is under fire for using his first visit to Haiti since the cholera outbreak began to deliver what critics see as empty words and an insult to those killed by the UN-caused epidemic.

U.N. troops from Nepal brought the disease to the Caribbean nation when they were deployed following the disastrous earthquake in 2010.

Yet, 1365 days since the UN troops introduced cholera to Haiti, over 8,000 Haitians have died and hundreds of thousands have been sickened, there has been no apology from the body. Nor has the UN taken responsibility or provided compensation to the victims.

This has prompted three pending alwsuits against the UN.

"I know that the epidemic has caused much anger and fear," Ban said Monday at church service in the Haitian village of Los Palmas. "I know that the disease continues to affect an unacceptable number of people."

The UN chief also announced launch of "Total Sanitation Campaign" to improve sanitation and hygiene interventions in Haiti, and called upon the global community to help fund the effort.

Haitian Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe and Ban have declared that the UN has "a moral responsibility" to address the epidemic, yet without accepting responsibility, the UN continues to evade its legal obligations while offering under-funded campaigns, advocates for Haitian victims say.

"It is an insult to all Haitians for the Secretary-General to come to Haiti for a photo-op when he refuses to take responsibility for the thousands of Haitians killed and the hundreds of thousands sickened by the UN cholera epidemic," Mario Joseph, Managing Attorney of the Bureau des Avocats Internationaux (BAI), which has been working with cholera victims on their years-long battle for justice.

Brian Concannon, Jr., Esq., who directs the Boston-based, Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti (IJDH), added, "The Secretary-General lectures others on the importance of accountability and the rule of law, but refuses to comply with long-established and clear legal obligations to compensate Haitians harmed by its reckless introduction of cholera into Haiti."

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