It shouldn’t have taken five years and a scathing report by an internal human rights watchdog for the United Nations to acknowledge that it bears responsibility for the cholera epidemic in Haiti sparked by its peacekeepers deployed after the 2010 earthquake.
And yet, the yearslong effort to dodge accountability in an emblematic case of institutional failure was predictable. A string of recent scandals has shown that the United Nations has been unwilling to police itself, learn from its errors, correct course and make amends. When a new secretary general takes over next year, she or he should make it a priority to revamp the organization’s oversight entities and create a culture of accountability.
For years, the United Nations asserted that there was no conclusive proof that peacekeepers were the source of an outbreak of cholera that has killed more than 10,000 people.
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