A mealy-mouthed apology from Ban Ki-moon for UN cholera in Haiti

The  behaviour of the UN, as an organisation, far too often is a case of when the lowest common behaviour of the  collective prevails. Ban Ki-moon’s term has been distinguished by his cowardice. He makes politically correct noises as told to by his staff. I get the impression that during his term he put his own mind on the shelf and gave up on thinking. About lapses of UN behaviour, – whether about sexual predation by UN troops in Africa or about UN incompetence in Haiti – he has been remarkably circumspect.

Now Ban Ki-moon has made a half-hearted, mealy-mouthed apology about UN behaviour after the outbreak of UN cholera in Haiti but has, again, lacked the courage to address the fact that the UN introduced the cholera.

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New York Times:

After six years and 10,000 deaths, the United Nations issued a carefully worded public apology on Thursday for its role in the 2010 cholera outbreak in Haiti and the widespread suffering it has caused since then.

The mea culpa, which Secretary General Ban Ki-moon delivered before the General Assembly, avoided any mention of who brought cholera to Haiti, even though the disease was not present in the country until United Nations peacekeepers arrived from Nepal, where an outbreak was underway.

The peacekeepers lived on a base that often leaked waste into a river, and the first cholera cases in the country appeared in Haitians who lived nearby. Numerous scientists have long argued that the base was the source of the outbreak, but for years United Nations officials refused to accept responsibility.

Even though Mr. Ban’s office has acknowledged that the United Nations had played a role in the outbreak, his apology on Thursday was limited to how the world body responded to the outbreak, not how it started. 

“We simply did not do enough with regard to the cholera outbreak and its spread in Haiti,” Mr. Ban said on Thursday. “We are profoundly sorry about our role.” ………

……. The United Nations has not yet met its promise to eradicate cholera once and for all from Haiti, though Mr. Ban’s aides said on Thursday that they were close to raising the $200 million they say they need to fix Haiti’s water and sanitation system and treat Haitians for cholera. Nor has the United Nations yet raised an additional $200 million it wants for “material assistance” to families and communities that have suffered; donor nations have not yet come forward with the funds.


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