Lawyers Without Borders Canada (LWBC) ask the the United Nations Secretary-General, Mr. Antonio Guterres, to publicly condemn the statements of his predecessor, Mr. Ban Ki-moon, against cholera victims in Haiti.
In his memoirs entitled Resolved: Uniting Nations in a Divided World and published on June 15, 2021, former United Nations Secretary-General addressed the cholera victims’ fight as such:
I was incredulous—no, shocked—when, in November 2011, five hundred Haiti victims and their families brought a class-action lawsuit against the United Nations and me as its secretary-general […]. I thought this lawsuit was fraudulent from the beginning, and I was incensed every time I thought about this attempt to extort money from the United Nations. The effort required a substantial amount of financial backing and a knowledge of the U.S. legal system, and it was difficult to believe that the Haitian people would divert their resources from helping their own people to obtain either. - Ban Ki-moon
The above statements include strong accusations towards cholera victims and their representatives, including of fraud, attempts of money extortion, and improper resource diversion. It disregards their tireless fight of over 10 years for the acknowledgment of their suffering, losses, and enjoyment of their human rights, as well as their active participation in decision-making processes and a more transparent dialogue with the UN regarding their needs as direct victims of the epidemic.
On October 12, 2021, LWBC informed the United Nations General Secretariat of Mr. Ban Ki-moon's shocking statements. As of today, no action has been taken on this letter.
An official statement condemning these wrongful characterizations and reiterating the UN’s apology and support in favour of cholera victims through concrete actions would send a powerful message of solidarity and compassion to cholera victims and the Haitian population in general
The introduction of cholera into Haiti by UN peacekeepers has resulted in more than 10,000 deaths and 820,000 victims. The gravity of the consequences of the cholera epidemic makes the United Nations' silence unacceptable.