UNITED NATIONS, Jan 10 (APP): Indian troops sent to Haiti on a UN peacekeeping mission are facing a probe by the world body for arriving in the Caribbean country without getting the mandatory cholera vaccination.
A United Nations spokesman said that the Indian government had been asked to explain why it had confirmed that these troops had been vaccinated.
“We’re trying to get more information, obviously, from the Indian authorities,” Spokesman Stephane Dujarric said when asked bout media reports that more than 100 men of Assam Rifles were deployed between July and August of 2016 in Haiti to help in UN operations but reportedly did not go through the proper medical procedures before being dispatched from India.
Dujarric added that “as a matter of principle, we rely on the country
of origin of the peacekeepers to present us and to certify that they meet all the medical requirements for deployment in the area, which, in the case of Haiti, would, obviously, include the vaccine against cholera.”
The Indian home ministry had certified that their troops had taken the vaccine.
The UN is already facing accusations that its international troops were responsible for the outbreak of cholera after they entered Haiti to offer assistance following the 2010 earthquake. Prior to the entry of peacekeepers from Nepal, there were no reported cases of the disease on the island. The troops were accused of spreading the disease by performing their daily ablutions in a river near their base, that led to over 10,000 deaths in six years.
In August of last year, the UN finally accepted responsibility, stating that it had “become convinced it needs to do much more regarding its own involvement in the initial outbreak”.
Following an investigation into the accusations, former UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon released a statement apologizing for the introduction of the deadly disease into the country.
“The preponderance of the evidence and the weight of the circumstantial evidence does lead to the conclusion that personnel associated with the Mirebalais United Nations Stabilization Mission in
Haiti facility were the most likely source of introduction of cholera into Haiti,” he said in December 2016.