U.N. sued over cholera epidemic in Haiti

[...] argument is being sharply challenged by some of the U.N.'s own staff – a group of five "special rapporteurs" who are appointed to act as internal watchdogs.

In a letter to U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon presented on March 15 to the U.N. Human Rights Council, the rapporteurs rejected the argument that compensating Haitian cholera victims would be "opening the floodgates to claims against the United Nations." This is believed to be the first time the U.N.'s human rights watchdogs have criticized the agency itself, rather than member nations.

The rapporteurs also criticized the U.N.'s efforts to control cholera through clean water and sanitation as "clearly insufficient." So far the U.N. has spent about $140 million on cholera control in Haiti — only 6 percent of the $2.2 billion the agency says will be needed to eliminate cholera there.

In unusually blunt language, the rapporteurs told Ban that the U.N.'s denial of "an effective remedy" for cholera "challenges the credibility of the Organization as an entity that respects human rights."


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