In remarks today, Sec-Gen Ban Ki-moon said the UN is “profoundly sorry” for its role in the Haitian cholera outbreak
Washington (December 1, 2016) – Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), top Democrat on the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Africa and Global Health Policy, released the following statement today after United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon issued a formal apology to the people of Haiti for the UN’s role in the country’s cholera epidemic, which has been attributed to improper wastewater disposal practices by UN Peacekeepers sent to Haiti following the devastating earthquake of 2010. Since that time nearly 800,000 cholera cases and almost 10,000 deaths have been reported in Haiti. As part of the apology, the UN also released a report outlining its new two-track strategy to enhance the medical response to the outbreak and begin developing the water and sanitation infrastructures to eliminate the presence of cholera. The plan also discusses a compensation plan for the victims of cholera and their families. The Secretary-General expressed his hope for broad UN Member State support to fund both of these initiatives. In the wake of Hurricane Matthew in October, Senator Markey traveled to Haiti to observe the humanitarian response and assess any public health conditions, including the possible aggravation of Haiti’s cholera epidemic.
“This apology from the United Nations has been years overdue and is an important first step for justice for the people of Haiti,” said Senator Markey. “The people of Haiti have long deserved more than just acknowledgment for the pain and sacrifice they have suffered in great part due to UN negligence. The UN must now put its money where its mouth is and provide compensation to the Haitian people suffering from the devastation caused by the cholera epidemic. We must help build lasting solutions in the form of robust water and sanitation infrastructure to stop the spread of the disease. I continue to urge all UN member states to shoulder their responsibilities with robust financial support for this effort.”
Earlier this year, Senator Markey called on the United Nations to publicly apologize for their role in the cholera outbreak and subsequent epidemic, provide material resources to end the threat of the disease in Haiti and deliver financial assistance to victims and their families that were affected by the epidemic.