To Hold U.N. Accountable For Haitian Cholera Outbreak, ‘Think Outside The Legal Box’

Washington Post: Thousands died when the U.N. brought cholera to Haiti. Here’s why it’s getting off scot-free.
Mara Pillinger and Michael N. Barnett of George Washington University, and Ian Hurd of Northwestern University

“Who pays the costs when United Nations operations go wrong? This hypothetical question became very real in October 2010 when U.N. peacekeepers from Nepal brought cholera to Haiti, as we describe in a new article for the journal Perspectives on Politics. … [T]he Haiti case demonstrates that U.N. immunity has shifted too far toward the organization at the expense of the people it is meant to serve. … Sometime we need to think outside the legal box. Responsibility and accountability are not only legal concepts — they are also political and moral ones. There are a range of non-legal ways to promote accountability, including political pressure, public shaming, and media scrutiny. … In Haiti, the U.N. is unable or unwilling to acknowledge the harm it has caused and the law doesn’t obligate it to. Civil society actors may ensure that law does not have the final word” (3/28).

The KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report summarized news and information on global health policy from hundreds of sources, from May 2009 through December 2020. All summaries are archived and available via search.

The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation Headquarters: 185 Berry St., Suite 2000, San Francisco, CA 94107 | Phone 650-854-9400
Washington Offices and Barbara Jordan Conference Center: 1330 G Street, NW, Washington, DC 20005 | Phone 202-347-5270 | Email Alerts: | |

Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in San Francisco, California.