Caribbean American Congresswoman hails UN apology for cholera epidemic in Haiti

NEW YORK, December 3, 2016, CMC – Caribbean American Congress woman Yvette D. Clarke has welcomed the United Nations apology to the Haitian people over the cholera outbreak in the French-speaking Caribbean country.

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon issued the apology earlier this week for the cholera epidemic that has killed more than 10,000 people in Haiti.

“Although the Secretary General refused to explicitly admit fault for introducing cholera to Haiti, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and Extreme Poverty has clearly stated that cholera was introduced to Haiti by United Nations aid workers,” said Clarke, the daughter of Jamaican immigrants.

The representative for the predominantly Caribbean 9thCongressional District in Brooklyn said she agreed with the preponderance of scientific evidence that supports this conclusion.

“Now, the United Nations has a responsibility to deploy the hundreds of millions of dollars that have been pledged to address the threat of disease, lack of food security and need for development, as well as compensating families afflicted by cholera and restoring communities that have been devastated,” Clarke said.

She, therefore, urged the entire international community to become involved in this effort, stating that she will continue to work with her colleagues in the United States Congress “to fight for active American involvement in this important mission.”

“In addition, I am committed to working with the incoming Secretary General to end the scourge of cholera and help Haiti achieves its vision of prosperity,” Clarke said.

While offering the apology on Thursday, Ban also outlined the way forward, including immediate steps, to stem the outbreak and long-term support for those affected, while also highlighting the need for adequate funding of the proposal.

“On behalf of the United Nations, I want to say very clearly, we apologize to the Haitian people,” Ban told UN member-states at a gathering of the General Assembly at the UN Headquarters.

 “We simply did not do enough with regard to the cholera outbreak and its spread in Haiti.  We are profoundly sorry for our role. Eliminating cholera from Haiti, and living up to our moral responsibility to those who have been most directly affected, will require the full commitment of the international community and, crucially, the resources necessary.”

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