Reps. John Conyers & Mia Love Lead Bipartisan Group of More Than 150 Members of Congress in Calling for Un To Take Responsibility For Haiti Cholera Epidemic
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Representatives John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI), the Dean of Congress, and Mia Love (R-UT) today led a bipartisan letter signed by 158 Members of the U.S. House of Representatives calling on the U.S. State Department to “immediately and unreservedly exercise its leadership” to ensure that the United Nations takes responsibility for the devastating cholera epidemic that it caused in Haiti. The lawmakers are insisting on U.S. leadership to hold the UN accountable and to ensure they comply with moral and human rights obligations by providing the victims of cholera with access to resources for the damage inflicted by the epidemic.
Cholera arrived in Haiti due to improper sewage disposal by UN peacekeepers in 2010, and has killed between 10,000-100,000 people and sickened at least 800,000 in the last five years. The UN has refused to provide compensation or a fair hearing to victims—evading responsibility in U.S. courts. Inadequate funding for cholera eradication efforts has resulted in a worsening epidemic to date.
“Haiti’s cholera crisis is a darkening stain on the world’s conscience,” said Rep. Conyers. “The U.S. government cannot watch this crisis unfold from the sidelines. We need to exercise our leadership to make sure that cholera is eliminated and that the UN provides due process and remedies to the victims. The ongoing failure to do so is a travesty for human rights and for the UN’s credibility.”
“The U.S. is the largest financial supporter of the United Nations, and has an important voice at the UN. It is critical that we use our influence to ensure the UN takes responsibility for this outbreak and works to protect the people of Haiti,” said Rep. Love.
The letter signals a groundswell of support in Congress for U.S. leadership to secure UN action on cholera now. Among the 158 signatories are 22 members of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs (HCFA), including Africa, Global Health and International Organizations Subcommittee Chairman Christopher Smith (R-NJ), former HCFA Chairwoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), HCFA Ranking Member Eliot Engel (D-NY), Western Hemisphere Subcommittee Ranking Member Albio Sires (D-NJ), and Global Health Ranking Member Karen Bass (D-CA).
Full text of the letter can be viewed here.