Noting Court Decision Upholding United Nations Immunity in Haiti Cholera Case, Secretary-General Urges Member States to Boost Support for Overcoming Epidemic

SG/SM/17991
19 August 2016

Noting Court Decision Upholding United Nations Immunity in Haiti Cholera Case, Secretary-General Urges Member States to Boost Support for Overcoming Epidemic

The following statement was issued today by the Spokesman for UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon:

The Secretary-General notes yesterday’s decision of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, which upheld the immunity of the Organization from legal proceedings in the case of Georges et al v. United Nations et. al, in accordance with the United Nations Charter and other international treaties.

The Secretary-General deeply regrets the terrible suffering the people of Haiti have endured as a result of the cholera epidemic.  The United Nations has a moral responsibility to the victims of the cholera epidemic and for supporting Haiti in overcoming the epidemic and building sound water, sanitation and health systems.

Sustained efforts by national authorities and the international community have contributed to a 90 per cent reduction in the number of cases since the peak in 2011.  However, eliminating cholera from Haiti will take the full commitment of the Haitian Government and the international community, and crucially, the resources to fulfil our shared duty.

The Secretary-General is actively working to develop a package that would provide material assistance and support to those Haitians most directly affected by cholera.  These efforts must include, as a central focus, the victims of the disease and their families.  The United Nations also intends to intensify its support to reduce and ultimately end the transmission of cholera, improve access to care and treatment, and address the longer-term issues of water, sanitation and health systems in Haiti.

Despite repeated appeals, these efforts have been seriously underfunded and severe and persistent funding shortfalls remain.  The Secretary-General urges Member States to demonstrate their solidarity with the people of Haiti by increasing their contributions to eliminate cholera and provide assistance to those affected.

For decades, the United Nations has stood by the Haitian people, supporting them in their quest for democracy and the strengthening of their institutions, and helping to rebuild the nation after the tragic earthquake of 2010.  The Secretary-General and the United Nations as a whole are determined to continue this support, honour the people of Haiti and help them usher in a more peaceful and prosperous future.

For information media. Not an official record.