Gustavo Gallon called for "full compensation" for cholera Victims

UN Claims Immunity from Victims' Lawsuit in Cholera Action


Mr. Gustavo Gallon, a human rights expert, who was appointed by the UN, has exposed the international agency for its negligence in accepting responsibility for the 2010 cholera outbreak in Haiti. He has released a report that claims a UN peacekeeping force, based in Central Haiti, let sewage leak into a river close to the base. The sewage pipes were not properly maintained and caused sewage to seep into the river.

The UN disclaims responsibility against evidence found during an investigation. Its defense is two-fold: one, it is not possible to locate the actual source where the cholera bacteria developed, and two, even if it was responsible, it is protected by the Convention on the Privileges and Immunities of the UN.

The UN invokes its rights under the Convention and claims legal immunity against lawsuits asking for victim compensation. The epidemic caused 8,300 deaths and made many hundreds of thousands Haitians deathly ill.

Victims' attorneys brought suit against the UN in 2013, asking for $100,000 in compensatory damages for each death resulting from the disease, and $50,000 per victim, who survived the illness.

Gallon considers the UN's refusal to pay a diplomatic crisis. He says it is necessary ". . . to shed light on what really happened . . . . (and the UN) should be the first to honor the principle of compensation . . ."

The cholera outbreak was the first bacterial infection to afflict Haitians since the early 19th century.

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