Target: Ban Ki-moon, Secretary General of the United Nations
Goal: Force the United Nations to acknowledge their responsibility for cholera outbreaks in Haiti and begin reparations
In 2010, a sudden cholera outbreak struck Haiti that would claim more than 8,000 lives over the course of the next two years. With no reported cases of cholera occurring in Haiti before the outbreak, scientists and medical professionals pinpointed the source of the infection as the United Nations (UN) peacekeeping troops stationed in Haiti following the 2004 coup. After analyzing the disease, experts demonstrated that the cholera spreading through the Haitian population was identical to a strain from an active outbreak in Nepal, which peacekeeping troops had been fighting there. Moreover, they surmised that a particular group of peacekeepers, who had been fighting the outbreak in Nepal, had not been adequately screened for the disease when they rotated into Haiti. After two years of silence on the matter, the UN has responded by throwing the case out.
In the two years following the outbreak, the UN and its Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, have made every effort to deny allegations, hide data, and cover up the truth. Despite internal and external criticism of this tact, the UN claims total immunity from prosecution via a status-of forces agreement (SOFA) signed with Haiti’s interim government. This agreement allows peacekeeping troops to operate without interference from local police forces and courts. However, the agreement is signed in good faith, stating that the forces must “cooperate with respect to sanitary services and…in matters concerning health, particularly in respect to the control of communicable diseases.” Clearly, the UN and their peacekeeping forces violated this agreement and should be held responsible for damages and suffering sustained to the Haitian people.
Incidences of the disease of have tapered off somewhat since the initial outbreak, but cases of cholera infection are still being reported. Haiti’s health ministry reports a rise in infections in December 2012 and January 2013. Active outbreaks are being reported once again and funding for operations aimed at containing the disease is scant. The UN and Secretary General Ban Ki-moon must admit responsibility for this potential disaster, begin efforts to eradicate the disease, and compensate those who have suffered and lost loved ones. Sign the petition below to force Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to admit responsibility and take action to assist the Haitian population with this deadly disease.
Dear Secretary General Ban Ki-moon,
The 2010 outbreak of cholera in Haiti was the direct result of insufficient screening of UN peacekeeping troops rotating into Haiti from Nepal. As such it is the responsibility of the UN to take action to help with the outbreak and to compensate the loss and suffering inflicted on the people of Haiti. Since the outbreak more than 8,000 Haitians have died from cholera—a disease which had never been reported in Haiti before.
Moreover, attempting to cover up the UN’s responsibility in the matter by destroying evidence and convincing critics to change the topic is deceitful and underhanded. It belies the fundamental tenants upon which the UN was formed. We demand that the Secretary General and the UN as a whole admit responsibility for the outbreak, cover-up, and operations aimed at remedying the situation.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: United Nations Photo via Flickr