UN Security Council lands in Haiti to protests over cholera
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — A delegation from the U.N. Security Council arrived in Haiti on Thursday and was met by protesters demanding that the world body do more to fight a deadly outbreak of cholera likely caused by its troops.
The delegation is in Haiti to assess security ahead of the planned end of the U.N. peacekeeping mission that began in 2004 to stabilize the country following the violent rebellion that ousted then-President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. It was expected to meet with President Jovenel Moise and other officials during the three-day visit.
About 1,000 protesters gathered outside a U.N. base in Port-au-Prince, expressing anger over the U.N. response to the cholera outbreak. The United Nations has pledged $400 million to assist Haiti with the disease but has raised only a small fraction and has claimed immunity in a lawsuit brought by victims of the disease in the U.S.
Brian Concannon, an activist who was at the protest and has assisted victims in their suit against the U.N., faulted the Security Council for leaving cholera off its formal agenda.
“Regardless of whether the U.N. pretends it doesn’t exist, cholera is still continuing to kill Haitians and to deeply undermine the U.N.’s credibility in Haiti,” said Concannon, executive director of the Institute for Justice and Democracy.
The U.N. said in a statement that the Security Council intends the visit to show its support for the government and people of Haiti and “to strengthen their country and institutions in order to contribute to the stability and development of the country. ”
Cholera has killed at least 10,000 people and made tens of thousands more violently ill since the outbreak began in late 2010. The water-borne illness is believed by scientific experts to have been introduced in Haiti when peacekeeping troops discharged contaminated waste into the Artibonite River.