Human Rights as the Art of the Possible

“Los Derechos Humanos Como el Arte de lo Possible,” in En Conquista de los Derechos Humanos: Homenaje a José Zalaquett Daher (Santiago, Thompson Reuters, 2017) pp. 317-336.

NYU School of Law, Public Law Research Paper No. 17-49

18 Pages Posted: 30 Nov 2017

See all articles by Philip Alston

Philip Alston

New York University School of Law

Date Written: November 29, 2017

Abstract

This chapter explores responsibility of the United Nations for bringing cholera to Haiti in 2010 and subsequent efforts by several Special Rapporteurs to encourage the UN to recognize that responsibility and to pay reparations to the victims. The chapter concludes that (i) UN Special Rapporteurs can play a very influential role in holding international actors to account; (ii) scientific evidence is of central importance in such endeavors, but it can also be manipulated and misrepresented in order to serve nefarious institutional purposes; and (iii) the debate over the UN’s responsibility is by no means over. The Haiti cholera chapter can never be closed while there remains complete denial of the fact of UN responsibility, even if the remarkable actions taken by the UN to address the consequences were incontestably driven by an awareness that it had indeed been responsible for the introduction of cholera through its clearly demonstrated negligence.

Suggested Citation

Alston, Philip, Human Rights as the Art of the Possible (November 29, 2017). “Los Derechos Humanos Como el Arte de lo Possible,” in En Conquista de los Derechos Humanos: Homenaje a José Zalaquett Daher (Santiago, Thompson Reuters, 2017) pp. 317-336.; NYU School of Law, Public Law Research Paper No. 17-49. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3079889

Philip Alston (Contact Author)

New York University School of Law ( email )

40 Washington Square South
New York, NY 10012-1099
United States

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