New Internal Report Slams UN Cholera Cover-Up
by Kim Ives (Haiti Liberte)
UN officials are frantically fending off questions about their organization being to blame for importing cholera into Haiti following the leak last week of an internal Special Rapporteur draft report which slams their “existing approach of simply abdicating responsibility [as] morally unconscionable, legally indefensible, and politically self-defeating.”
On Aug. 18, the day after freelance reporter Jonathan Katz (the AP’s former Haiti correspondent) leaked excerpts of New York University law professor Philip Alston’s draft report in the New York Times, a New York State Appeals court upheld a lower court decision granting the UN “immunity” from a class-action suit being brought on behalf of Haitian cholera victims. (Alston’s full report was published in the New York Times Magazine on Aug. 20).
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s deputy spokesman Farhan Haq stated that the UN “needs to do much more regarding own involvement in the initial outbreak," stopping short of admitting responsibility or specifying what exactly “much more” is.
On Aug. 19, Mr. Ban issued a statement saying he “deeply regrets the terrible suffering” the cholera epidemic has caused Haitians and assumed “a moral responsibility to the victims” by “building sound water, sanitation and health systems.”