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Latest update : 2014-10-14

Haiti: Injustice in a time of Cholera

© France 24

FRANCE 24 reports on the UN’s role in the worst cholera outbreak in modern times. We shine a light on the lack of compassion shown towards the victims of Haiti’s cholera epidemic by the very organisation that was sent to protect them.

Critics claim that the UN inadvertently introduced cholera to Haiti and then tried to cover it up.

Since the outbreak started four years ago, more than 8,500 people have died and over 700,000 have been infected.

FRANCE 24 takes you to rural Haiti, to meet some of the victims of the epidemic who lost the breadwinners in their family and are now condemned to generational poverty. Haitian human rights lawyer Mario Joseph guides us to the UN base where he says the outbreak began. He is helping thousands of Haitian victims sue the UN for gross negligence. He is involved in one of 3 cases filed against the UN in the United States. Plaintiffs are calling for compensation.

FRANCE 24 directly confronts UN secretary General Ban Ki-moon over the UN’s denial of responsibility only to be stonewalled. In an exclusive interview with FRANCE 24, the former head of the UN mission in Haiti, Edmond Mulet, flatly denies his peacekeepers were the source of the outbreak. Mr. Mulet also claims the peacekeepers were tested for cholera before deployment to Haiti, contradicting scientists who say the peacekeepers were not tested and that sanitation at the UN base did not stop the peacekeepers’ faeces from entering Haiti’s biggest river.

The UN argues that it has immunity from prosecution in this case. Yet as former top ranking UN lawyer Professor Rashkow explains in this report, the UN is obliged to set up a committee to treat standing claims in this case. Professor Rashkow knows the ins and outs of UN law intimately as he was one of the architects of the UN’s legal framework for peacekeeping.

On October 23rd oral arguments in one of the 3 cases filed against the UN over the cholera epidemic in Haiti will be heard at New York’s Southern District Court.

Read the full report here.

By Emmanuel SAINT-MARTIN , Mailys DUPRE , Malo DELARUE

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