- By David BoscoDavid Bosco is a Foreign Policy contributing editor and assistant professor at American University's School of International Service. He is at work on a book about the International Criminal Court's first decade.
The Yale Law School and School of Public Health have produced a hard-hitting report on the United Nations’ response to the cholera outbreak in Haiti. The study argues that the scientific evidence of the UN’s responsibility is now beyond doubt:
Scientific study of the origins of the cholera epidemic in Haiti overwhelmingly demonstrates that U.N. peacekeeping troops from Nepal introduced the disease into the country. No cases of active transmission of cholera had been reported in Haiti for at least a century prior to October 2010. The foci of the epidemic encompasses the location of the MINUSTAH base in Méyè. The peacekeeping troops stationed at the MINUSTAH camp in Méyè at the time of the outbreak were deployed from Nepal, where cholera is endemic and an outbreak occurred just prior to their departure, increasing their likelihood of exposure and transmission.
With UN responsibility established, the report’s authors insist that the organization respond directly to victims:
The U.N. will need to accept responsibility for its failures in Haiti, apologize to the victims of the epidemic, vindicate the legal rights of the victims, end the ongoing epidemic, and take steps to ensure that it will never again cause such tragically avoidable harm, in Haiti or elsewhere.
You can read the whole report here.