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Yale Report Says U.N. Should Apologize, Establish Claims Commission For Haitian Cholera Outbreak

“The United Nations peacekeeping mission in Haiti should be held accountable for introducing cholera into the Caribbean nation, a Yale University report [.pdf] said Tuesday,” the Associated Press reports. “In the report ‘Peacekeeping Without Accountability,’ researchers from Yale Law School and the Yale School of Public Health said there is ample scientific evidence to show U.N. troops from Nepal inadvertently brought cholera to Haiti in October 2010,” the news agency writes, noting the U.N. has declared legal immunity from victims’ claims for compensation. “The Yale report said the world body ‘violates obligations under international law by not providing a forum to address the grievances of cholera victims,'” the news agency states, adding, “By failing to hold itself accountable for causing Haiti’s cholera outbreak, ‘the United Nations violates the very principles of accountability and respect for law that it promotes worldwide,’ it said.” Though the U.N. promised to establish a standing claims commission in Haiti, it has not yet done so, the report noted, according to the AP. “The report calls for a claims commission, a public apology, support for victims and adequate funding for the prevention and treatment of cholera,” according to the news agency, which notes the cholera outbreak has killed thousands and sickened more than a half million people.

Johan Peleman, head of the U.N.’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in Haiti, said the study should be presented to U.N. headquarters, according to the AP, which notes he added, “The reality on the ground is we need money to respond” to the outbreak. “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, which share the island of Hispaniola, but the ambitious 10-year plan remains mostly unfunded,” the news agency writes. The AP notes, “Also Tuesday, the U.N. mission in Haiti and the Haitian government renewed an appeal to fund the Humanitarian Action Plan, which is meant to help nearly two million Haitians vulnerable to cholera, hunger and natural disasters. This effort is seeking $39 million in emergency donations” (Daniel, 8/6).