UN admits it caused Haiti cholera outbreak that killed 11,000
The United Nations cannot be sued in a US court over claims it was to blame for a outbreak of cholera which has killed thousands in Haiti, a federal appeals court has ruled. The appeals panel upheld the UN’s immunity from a damage claim filed on behalf of 5,000 victims. The ruling came shortly after the UN said for the first time it was involved in the introduction of cholera to Haiti. The decision issued by the US 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals in New York affirmed a lower court’s January 2015 dismissal of a lawsuit brought in the worst outbreak of the deadly disease in recent history.
‘We have considered all of plaintiffs’ arguments on appeal and find them to be without merit,’ the US appellate judges said.
It is estimated that more than 800,000 people have been sickened and 11,000 have died during the epidemic.
It was a significant statement because the UN has for years kept silent about allegations its peacekeepers introduced cholera to Haiti. It has answered lawsuits on behalf of victims filed in US courts by claiming immunity under a 1946 convention. UN deputy spokesman Farhan Haq said in a statement that the UN needs to do ‘much more’ to end the suffering of those affected and pledged that ‘a significantly new set of UN actions’ will be presented publicly within the next two months.
UN peacekeepers struggle to control the thousands of desperately hungry Haitians outside the wrecked presidential palace.