U.S. District Court heard victims of Haiti's cholera

NY District Court hears Oral Arguments in Haiti Cholera Case. Ten victims of Haiti's cholera epidemic won the right to have their lawsuit heard in court during a hearing in a NY District Court in October. They have filed suit against the UN, alleging soldiers from Nepal, part of the UN peacekeeping mission, contaminated a tributary of the Artibonite River with cholera. The epidemic began ten months after 2010's earthquake. As a consequence of the contamination over 8,500 people have perished from cholera, with hundreds of thousands infected.


The UN has refused to take responsibility for the calamity and claims immunity from prosecution. Although the UN draws the line at providing a remedy to victims the lawsuit asserts it has harmed, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon believes "The whole international community, including the United Nations, has a moral duty" to stem the tide of cholera.

However, plaintiffs' attorney, Beatrice Lindstrom, says the UN has an unassailable legal obligation to make restitution to the people it has harmed. A spokesman for the UN, Farhan Haq, told the media the UN is maintaining ". . . its immunity from the legal process"; ergo ". . . the United Nations will not appear in court." Attorneys arguing for the UN said the body is guaranteed immunity unless it specifically waives it. They recommended to the judge the case be turned over to the International Court of Justice. The judge has the final word if the lawsuit can be heard in a U.S. court.

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