PEACE­KEEP­ING:

UN ad­mits it caused Haiti cholera out­break that killed 11,000

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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.

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