Statement of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General of the United Nations in Haiti a. i. Nigel Fisher, on the compensation case filed against the United Nations on behalf of victims of the cholera outbreak in Haiti
The United Nations informed the legal representatives of the claimants in the compensation case filed against the United Nations on behalf of victims of the cholera outbreak in Haiti, that their complaint is not receivable pursuant to Section 29 of the Convention on the Privileges and Immunities of the United Nations. The Secretary General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon, also informed the President of the Republic of Haiti, His Excellency Michel Martelly, of the decision.
Above all, the Special Representative of the Secretary General in Haiti a. i., Mr. Nigel Fisher, expresses his deep sorrow and solidarity with the many Haitian families who lost loved ones in this terrible epidemic.
Mr. Fisher is not in a position to comment on the legal aspects of the decision as United Nations practice is not to discuss or comment publicly on the details of complaints filed against the UN or on the responses to such claims.
Mr. Fisher nevertheless recalls that at the time of the outbreak of the cholera epidemic in Haiti in late 2010, he was Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator of the United Nations. In this regard, he stresses that the United Nations, with the Haitian Government and many other partners mobilized resolutely to combat the disease which caused such severe suffering to so many Haitians.
The United Nations family has devoted considerable human and financial resources to the fight against cholera. This includes efforts by the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO/WHO), UNICEF and MINUSTAH.
The Secretary-General of the United Nations launched on December 11th his Initiative for the elimination of cholera in Haiti, in support of the national Plan for the elimination of the disease. Significant funding for this initiative has been secured from bilateral and multilateral donors and will be used to support immediate and long-term efforts.
PAHO/WHO has also developed a broad coalition of international partners to support the Initiative as well as the national Plan for the elimination of cholera, and UNICEF is in the process of establishing a special fund to fight the disease.
Similarly, Dr. Paul Farmer was appointed Special Adviser of the Secretary-General for Community-based Medicine and Lessons from Haiti, a function in which he will support the Initiative and the work of the national authorities.
The Special Representative a. i. reiterates the continued commitment of the United Nations family to support Haiti and its people in the fight against cholera. The efforts of Haiti and its partners have borne fruit as the current infection rates represent but 10% of what they were at the peak of the epidemic.
However, the United Nations remains vigilant and mobilized alongside the authorities and people of Haiti to eliminate cholera in the country - and in the island of Hispaniola as a whole.
Mathias Gillmann, Deputy Spokesperson, MINUSTAH
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