You Have Immunity in the Next Challenge
I’ve always hated immunity, even and especially on reality shows. I mean come on, how will you ever find the next great fashion designer when you give Bert a free pass to be a lazy bum on the first unconventional challenge of the season? Of course he’s just going to grab the dog store fabric options and phone it in. Gah.
But I digress. Real life immunity doesn’t make any sense to me, either. Who could possibly benefit except criminals and psychopaths?
And indeed the criminals and psychopaths are having a hell of a time out there. Here are a few recent stories from Haiti to show you why we should never, ever give people immunity – not for parking violations (I hate those diplomatic limos blocking up traffic in front of the World Bank HQ, mocking me) and certainly not for rape and mass murder:
- First, we have a recent report out of Haiti about UN peacekeepers allegedly pinning down and sexually assaulting a teenage boy. The incident was caught on video, and the UN is still investigating. The base commander claims it was just “some kind of bullying.” Let’s say it was. Let’s say it wasn’t assault – it was just a bunch of “peacekeepers” standing around a pinned-down, humiliated teenager and laughing hysterically while pretending to assault him. Hmm. Still wrong.
- Next up, we have reports of exploitation of Haitian women by UN troops, including using their position to impregnate teenage girls and then leave them with little to no child support.
- And to top it off, here’s a more familiar story – a classic colonial tale: investigations proving that UN oversight (at best) allowed for the widespread cholera epidemic that has killed thousands in Haiti. Hear from French epidemiologist Dr. Renaud Piarroux, who confirmed Haitian’s fears that MINUSTAH (the UN’s mission in Haiti) was connected to the outbreak.
As of right now, the UN has not apologized for, nor compensated victims of, these incidents and many more allegations.
Immunity means that it’s up to the individual sending countries to prosecute lawbreakers. But the distance between the foreign courtrooms and the eyewitnesses and evidence in Haiti – plus the general inconsistency of various sovereign states’ laws – means that many criminals go unpunished.
Some individual countries have apologized and prosecuted wrongdoers, but the UN just keeps mum. If anything MINUSTAH has put down and prevented protests against itself. I don’t really see the reason for this. If troops have immunity, let the people protest. What’s the risk?
But I’d like to note that there’s still some sanity in this world. The Haitian Senate has introduced legislation to limit UN immunity and gradually implement the organization’s withdrawal.
In conclusion, immunity sucks.
For further reading, here are some more reasons the UN occupation in Haiti should end.