U.N. Must Compensate Haitian Cholera Victims To Uphold Human Dignity, Rights, U.N. Special Rapporteur Writes In Opinion Piece
Miami Herald: By not compensating Haiti’s cholera victims, the U.N. is denying their human rights | Opinion
Olivier De Schutter, U.N. special rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights
“…In Haiti, cholera [originally introduced by U.N. peacekeepers in 2010] is now close to being eradicated, thanks to the concerted joint efforts by the government of Haiti and the U.N. Though this is a remarkable achievement, every Haitian is entitled to hold the government and the international community accountable for fulfilling their human right to health, a healthy environment, and an adequate standard of living, including housing, water, and sanitation. By conflating victims’ right to compensation with generic development projects aimed at the well-being of the general population, the U.N. has written off its accountability for the epidemic and relegated human rights to charitable endeavors. In response to a critical letter from U.N. independent experts, [U.N. Secretary-General António] Guterres expressed his confidence that with more investment in the U.N.’s efforts to stop the transmission of cholera, ‘We can seek to close this terrible chapter with dignity.’ But human dignity is at the heart of human rights. There will be no closure with dignity for the victims, unless their loss and suffering are properly acknowledged, those responsible for the epidemic are held accountable, and victims receive appropriate remedies in accordance with human-rights principles and norms. Closure without these elements would be tantamount to hushing the voices of the victims and upholding a double standard on human rights. This is a price that the U.N. cannot afford” (10/26).