Saturday, 23 February 2013

Compensation for cholera: UN says no

The United Nations has rejected demands for millions of dollars in compensation from victims of a cholera outbreak that killed 8,000 people in Haiti following the earthquake of 2010.  

There is some evidence to suggest that the cause was leaking sewage pipes at a camp occupied by Nepalese UN peacekeeping troops, but the organisation has never accepted this.  More than 600,000 people have been infected.

Anyway the UN maintains that the charter that established it grants it legal immunity for its actions, but lawyers for the victims plan to challenge this view in Haiti’s national courts.  

Last December, the UN launched an appeal to raise $2bn to fight the epidemic, which is currently the worst in the world.   Haiti is particularly vulnerable because it has very few effective sewage disposal systems.  (See also my blogs of 23 Oct, 12 and 24 Nov, 2010.)

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