Port-au-Prince, Haiti — Lawyers for the victims of the cholera epidemic introduced to Haiti by poor United Nations (U.N.) sanitation practices in 2010 say that the nomination of Samantha Power for the United States Ambassador to the U.N. is an opportunity for the U.S. to encourage a more just response to the epidemic that has sickened over 662,000 and killed 8,200.
The Senate hearing for the confirmation of Power, a recognized scholar on ethical humanitarian intervention, is scheduled for Wednesday, July 17, 2013.
“Samantha Power has a long and effective record of support for the rule of law, especially international law,” notes Brian Concannon, director of the Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti, “She recognizes the need for accountability for harms the U.N. inflicts on the vulnerable populations that host its missions, and for the organization to practice what it preaches.”
Power has affirmed that, “[t]he rule of law [is] a cornerstone of what the United States should stand for.” She acknowledged both the promise and the limitations of U.N. field operations in her post-nomination speech in the White House Rose Garden, noting “I have seen U.N. aid workers enduring shellfire to deliver food to the people of Sudan. Yet I’ve also see U.N. peace keepers fail to protect the people of Bosnia.”
“Ms. Power understands the accountability issues well enough to advocate for a just response to the U.N. cholera epidemic in Haiti. As US Ambassador to the U.N., her intervention could be the tipping point,” said Concannon. He added, “an Ambassador Power would be uniquely capable of ensuring that the U.N. puts its own principles into practice, thereby stopping the cholera epidemic’s killing and compensating the victims.”