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No Immunity from Cholera (Foreign Affairs)

Foreign Affairs, July 13, 2016

No Immunity from Cholera

By Debra L. Raskin, former City Bar President, and Anil Kalhan, Chair of the City Bar’s International Human Rights Committee, with assistance from the United Nations Committee

“Evidence points to United Nations peacekeepers as the most likely source of the disease in Haiti. An expert panel commissioned by the United Nations itself pointed the finger at the “haphazard” disposal of human waste at a UN base close to the epicenter of the outbreak, near a tributary to Haiti’s largest river—the primary water source for tens of thousands of people. Most recently, news outlets reported that an internal UN memo stated that improper disposal of human waste was a widespread problem at other UN bases across Haiti as well. Despite this evidence, however, the United Nations has refused to accept responsibility for the outbreak and has resisted efforts to hold itself accountable. To date, the United States has supported the organization in its resistance. However, several groups, including the New York City Bar Association, have called on Washington to take concrete steps to ensure that the United Nations provides a mechanism that victims can use to fairly settle their claims against the organization.”

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