The United Nations Comes Clean

After the Cholera Epidemic in Haiti

Evenel Dorvilier rests on a stretcher in the Cholera Treatment Center of Diquini in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, May 28, 2016. Andres Martinez Casares / Reuters

On August 18, the United Nations finally bowed to international pressure and acknowledged what even its internal experts have long maintained: its peacekeeping troops brought cholera to an earthquake-ravaged Haiti, triggering an epidemic that, by an official count, has sickened 800,000 and killed at least 10,000. The real toll is likely far higher, and the disease, not previously reported in Haiti, is now considered endemic. The United Nation’s mea culpa is a step in the right direction, but the victims’ long struggle for justice is not over.

When the office of Secretary General Ban Ki-moon announced “its own involvement in the initial outbreak and the suffering of those affected by cholera,” the body pledged to provide “material assistance” to the victims. According to the Jonathan Katz of The New York Times, who broke the story linking the UN peacekeepers to the cholera outbreak and has followed it closely since, the admission was

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