Haiti cholera victims file new lawsuit against UN

August 7, 2014
1 Comments

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Victims of Haiti’s deadly post-earthquake cholera epidemic filed a new lawsuit Tuesday against the United Nations in U.S. federal court, demanding compensation over the organization’s alleged responsibility for the outbreak.

The class-action suit — representing some 1,500 victims — is the “the largest lawsuit against the U.N. regarding the outbreak to date,” plaintiffs’ representatives said in a statement.

“The lawsuit seeks to force the U.N. to take responsibility, compensate victims, and bring critical sanitation to the devastated Haitian communities the U.N. was sworn to protect,” it said.

The suit was filed at a federal court in Brooklyn, New York.

There had been no cholera in Haiti for at least 150 years until it was allegedly introduced to the Caribbean nation by Nepalese U.N. peacekeepers sent there in the wake of the devastating earthquake in January 2010.

According to the plaintiffs, who include several New Yorkers and U.S. citizens who lost members of their family, the epidemic has “killed approximately 9,000 and sickened 700,000 and counting” since it broke out in 2010.

Héctor Retamal/AFP
A Haitian woman suffering from cholera is taken to Hospital Bicentenaire run by Doctors Without Borders in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, on Dec. 10, 2010. Héctor Retamal/AFP

The source of the cholera epidemic was traced to a river that runs next to a U.N. camp in the central town of Mirebalais, where Nepalese troops had been based.

The strain of cholera is the same as one endemic in Nepal.

But the United Nations has so far refused to officially recognize responsibility for the outbreak, arguing it is impossible to concretely determine its origin and noting it is immune from prosecution in the United States.

On Oct. 9, a group of five Haitian victims of the epidemic filed a first lawsuit against the United Nations in U.S. federal court in New York.

A study by Yale University last August had found the peacekeepers responsible for sparking the epidemic. An earlier study in 2011 came to the same conclusion.

However, on Friday, the U.S. State Department said the United Nations and its mission in Haiti “are immune from suit in this case.”

The cholera epidemic has yet to be brought under control: In 2013 alone some 65,000 cases and 55 deaths were recorded, in addition to cases in neighboring countries including the Dominican Republic, Cuba and most recently, Mexico.

Facebook Comments

You may be interested

Costa Rica approves law against child abuse prepared by alleged victims of priest
Costa Rica
1 views
Costa Rica
1 views

Costa Rica approves law against child abuse prepared by alleged victims of priest

AFP and The Tico Times - April 24, 2019

Costa Rica’s congress approved on Tuesday a bill that extends the statute of limitations for the crime of sexual abuse…

International drug rehab in Costa Rica with the Costa Rica Treatment Center
Sponsored content
8 views
Sponsored content
8 views

International drug rehab in Costa Rica with the Costa Rica Treatment Center

The Tico Times - April 24, 2019

Costa Rica Treatment Center understands the process of addiction recovery from personal experience. Their evidence-based treatment programs are engineered to…

Costa Rica meets with Inter-American Commission on Human Rights to discuss Nicaragua, Venezuela, indigenous rights
Costa Rica
11 views
Costa Rica
11 views

Costa Rica meets with Inter-American Commission on Human Rights to discuss Nicaragua, Venezuela, indigenous rights

Alejandro Zúñiga - April 23, 2019

Costa Rica’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Manuel Ventura Robles, met with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) this week…

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!