An apology for cholera

Six years after cholera was introduced into one of Haiti’s largest rivers due to negligent waste management at a United Nations Peacekeeper base, the UN publicly apologized to cholera victims.

The United Nations deeply regrets the loss of life and suffering caused by the cholera outbreak in Haiti.

On behalf of the United Nations, I want to say very clearly: we apologise to the Haitian people.

We simply did not do enough with regard to the cholera outbreak and its spread in Haiti.

We are profoundly sorry for our role….For the sake of the Haitian people, but also for the sake of the United Nations itself, we have a moral responsibility to act.  And we have a collective responsibility to deliver.

For years, Mennonite Central Committee has advocated with other coalition partners for the UN to take responsibility, to address treatment, eradication and justice for victims. This is an important moment for Haitians who deserve a response from the UN, and the community that has stood alongside them.

While the apology is important, the work does not end here. It is important that the words of apology are translated into action. The UN has put forward other cholera elimination plans in the past but they often languished without the funds needed for implementation. We have and will continue to push the current and future U.S. Administrations to make appropriate contributions to the UN fund.

Read some of the news articles in various outlets: The Guardian, Miami Herald, NYTimes

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