Friday, January 10, 2014

Conyers & 64 Colleagues Write Ambassador Samantha Power Urging UN to Take Responsibility & Remedial Action for Haiti Cholera Outbreak

(WASHINGTON) – Today, Congressman John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.), along with 65 other Members of Congress, wrote Ambassador Samantha Power, the Permanent Representative to the United Nations (UN), about the UN’s inadequate response to the cholera epidemic in Haiti. Specifically, the letter detailed how in October 2010, UN peacekeepers in Haiti introduced cholera to the Caribbean nation and urged the UN to take immediate legal responsibility for the resulting harms. While the UN has expressed a desire to repair the damage, to date, no significant action has been taken. Following transmission of the letter to Ambassador Power, Rep. Conyers issued the following statement:

U.S. Representative
John Conyers, Jr.
“As we approach the fourth anniversary of the tragic earthquake that devastated Haiti, much work remains to be done to rebuild and rehabilitate the Caribbean nation. Unfortunately, this effort has been imperiled since October 2010, when United Nations peacekeepers operating out of a base camp nearby Port au Prince inadvertently introduced cholera to the Haitian people. As a result, hundreds of thousands of Haitians have been hospitalized, and thousands of Haitians have died. The UN has a moral and legal obligation to repair the harm resulting from its peacekeeping operations,” said Conyers.

“Current efforts by the UN to eradicate the cholera epidemic in Haiti are far from sufficient. In order for the UN to maintain its credibility around the world, it is imperative for it to acknowledge its legal responsibility and act now. This means fully funding the Cholera Elimination Plan and working to improve the water and sanitation infrastructure in Haiti. Failure to do so will jeopardize the UN’s standing and moral authority in Haiti and other countries where its personnel are deployed.

“Although the United States’ mission to the UN has demonstrated its interest in remedying the massive harm caused by the cholera epidemic, on the dawn of the fourth anniversary of the Haitian Earthquake, I urge the Obama administration to intensify its efforts to find a just solution that will address the needs of the Haitian people. Access to clean water and adequate sanitation are fundamental building blocks for economic recovery, and the United States must not waver in advocating for the needs of the Haitian people.”

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