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Lawsuit claims UN forces introduced cholera epidemic to Haiti

Posted by on Oct. 9, 2013 at 3:10 AM
  • 7 Replies

Lawsuit claims UN forces introduced cholera epidemic to Haiti

  • Haiti_Cholera_640.jpg

    In this photo from Nov. 8, 2010, a woman suffering from cholera symptoms is carried by a volunteer at the hospital in Archaie, Haiti. (AP Photo)

United Nations peacekeepers sent to protect Haitian citizens instead re-introduced cholera into the country, according to a lawsuit that will reportedly be filed in federal court in New York Wednesday. 

The New York Times reported that the lawsuit will be filed by the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti (IJDH), a Boston-based group that has pressed the U.N. to acknowledge some culpability for the outbreak of the disease, which has killed more than 8,300 people and sickened more than 650,000 since the outbreak began in October 2010. A spokeswoman for the organization told The Times that the lawsuit was filed in New York City due to it being the site of the U.N. headquarters and the home of a large Haitian expatriate population. 

Scientific studies have shown that cholera was likely introduced to the country by U.N. troops from Nepal, where the disease is endemic, and spread through sewage contamination at the troops' barracks. The U.N. maintains it has legal immunity from such compensation claims.

U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon said this past February that the U.N. would not accept claims for compensation from victims of the outbreak, citing a provision of the 1946 Convention on the Privileges and Immunities of the United Nations, and claiming that the U.N had "worked closely with the people and Government of Haiti to provide treatment, improve water and sanitation facilities, and strengthen prevention and early warning."

But earlier Tuesday, U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay made a rare case for compensating the victims of the epidemic, but did not say didn't say who she thought should pay.

"I have used my voice both inside the United Nations and outside to call for the right — for an investigation by the United Nations, by the country concerned, and I still stand by the call that victims of — of those who suffered as a result of that cholera be provided with compensation," Pillay said at an awards ceremony for human rights activists in Geneva.

Pillay said she raised the compensation issue almost a year ago when she was asked a question at a lecture at Oxford University

Asked about Pillay's comments, U.N. associate spokesman Farhan Haq, said it is not the "United Nations' practice to discuss in public claims filed against the organization."

Nicole Phillips, a lawyer for the IJDH, told the Associated Press that Pillay's "public support for the cholera victims' claims could be a game changer in their claims against the U.N." However, it is not clear if a federal judge will accept the lawsuit.

by on Oct. 9, 2013 at 3:10 AM
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Replies (1-7):
JoJoBean8
by Silver Member on Oct. 9, 2013 at 8:18 AM

Did the UN know the troops had cholera? If they didn't know then why should they be held responsible?

Ednarooni160
by on Oct. 9, 2013 at 1:33 PM



Quoting JoJoBean8:

Did the UN know the troops had cholera? If they didn't know then why should they be held responsible?

Scientific studies have shown that cholera was likely introduced to the country by U.N. troops from Nepal, where the disease is endemic, and spread through sewage contamination at the troops' barracks. The U.N. maintains it has legal immunity from such compensation claims. 


I'm guessing by this definititon it was regularly found in a certain area perhaps.  They probably traced it back to there.

en·dem·ic
enˈdemik/
adjective
adjective: endemic
  1. 1.
    (of a disease or condition) regularly found among particular people or in a certain area.
    "areas where malaria is endemic"
    • denoting an area in which a particular disease is regularly found.
  2. 2.
    (of a plant or animal) native or restricted to a certain country or area.
    "a marsupial endemic to northeastern Australia"
noun
noun: endemic; plural noun: endemics
1.
an endemic plant or animal.
JoJoBean8
by Silver Member on Oct. 9, 2013 at 1:39 PM

I saw that it just wasn't clear if the UN was aware that the troops had it or it was found afterwards.

Quoting Ednarooni160:



Quoting JoJoBean8:

Did the UN know the troops had cholera? If they didn't know then why should they be held responsible?

Scientific studies have shown that cholera was likely introduced to the country by U.N. troops from Nepal, where the disease is endemic, and spread through sewage contamination at the troops' barracks. The U.N. maintains it has legal immunity from such compensation claims. 


I'm guessing by this definititon it was regularly found in a certain area perhaps.  They probably traced it back to there.

en·dem·ic
enˈdemik/
adjective
adjective: endemic
  1. 1.
    (of a disease or condition) regularly found among particular people or in a certain area.
    "areas where malaria is endemic"
    • denoting an area in which a particular disease is regularly found.
  2. 2.
    (of a plant or animal) native or restricted to a certain country or area.
    "a marsupial endemic to northeastern Australia"
noun
noun: endemic; plural noun: endemics
1.
an endemic plant or animal.


Ednarooni160
by on Oct. 9, 2013 at 1:46 PM



Quoting JoJoBean8:

I saw that it just wasn't clear if the UN was aware that the troops had it or it was found afterwards.

Quoting Ednarooni160:



Quoting JoJoBean8:

Did the UN know the troops had cholera? If they didn't know then why should they be held responsible?

Scientific studies have shown that cholera was likely introduced to the country by U.N. troops from Nepal, where the disease is endemic, and spread through sewage contamination at the troops' barracks. The U.N. maintains it has legal immunity from such compensation claims. 


I'm guessing by this definititon it was regularly found in a certain area perhaps.  They probably traced it back to there.

en·dem·ic
enˈdemik/
adjective
adjective: endemic
  1. 1.
    (of a disease or condition) regularly found among particular people or in a certain area.
    "areas where malaria is endemic"
    • denoting an area in which a particular disease is regularly found.
  2. 2.
    (of a plant or animal) native or restricted to a certain country or area.
    "a marsupial endemic to northeastern Australia"
noun
noun: endemic; plural noun: endemics
1.
an endemic plant or animal.


I know..that's why I looked up the word to see if there was more meaning to it..and that's all I got...  Either way..I doubt the U.N. will have to pay out..


JoJoBean8
by Silver Member on Oct. 9, 2013 at 3:10 PM

I doubt they will either. I would think the basis of a lawsuit would have to be if they knew or not. 

Quoting Ednarooni160:



Quoting JoJoBean8:

I saw that it just wasn't clear if the UN was aware that the troops had it or it was found afterwards.

Quoting Ednarooni160:



Quoting JoJoBean8:

Did the UN know the troops had cholera? If they didn't know then why should they be held responsible?

Scientific studies have shown that cholera was likely introduced to the country by U.N. troops from Nepal, where the disease is endemic, and spread through sewage contamination at the troops' barracks. The U.N. maintains it has legal immunity from such compensation claims. 


I'm guessing by this definititon it was regularly found in a certain area perhaps.  They probably traced it back to there.

en·dem·ic
enˈdemik/
adjective
adjective: endemic
  1. 1.
    (of a disease or condition) regularly found among particular people or in a certain area.
    "areas where malaria is endemic"
    • denoting an area in which a particular disease is regularly found.
  2. 2.
    (of a plant or animal) native or restricted to a certain country or area.
    "a marsupial endemic to northeastern Australia"
noun
noun: endemic; plural noun: endemics
1.
an endemic plant or animal.


I know..that's why I looked up the word to see if there was more meaning to it..and that's all I got...  Either way..I doubt the U.N. will have to pay out..



Ednarooni160
by on Oct. 9, 2013 at 4:05 PM



Quoting JoJoBean8:

I doubt they will either. I would think the basis of a lawsuit would have to be if they knew or not. 

Quoting Ednarooni160:



Quoting JoJoBean8:

I saw that it just wasn't clear if the UN was aware that the troops had it or it was found afterwards.

Quoting Ednarooni160:



Quoting JoJoBean8:

Did the UN know the troops had cholera? If they didn't know then why should they be held responsible?

Scientific studies have shown that cholera was likely introduced to the country by U.N. troops from Nepal, where the disease is endemic, and spread through sewage contamination at the troops' barracks. The U.N. maintains it has legal immunity from such compensation claims. 


I'm guessing by this definititon it was regularly found in a certain area perhaps.  They probably traced it back to there.

en·dem·ic
enˈdemik/
adjective
adjective: endemic
  1. 1.
    (of a disease or condition) regularly found among particular people or in a certain area.
    "areas where malaria is endemic"
    • denoting an area in which a particular disease is regularly found.
  2. 2.
    (of a plant or animal) native or restricted to a certain country or area.
    "a marsupial endemic to northeastern Australia"
noun
noun: endemic; plural noun: endemics
1.
an endemic plant or animal.


I know..that's why I looked up the word to see if there was more meaning to it..and that's all I got...  Either way..I doubt the U.N. will have to pay out..



Even if it's true..I'm guessing their lawyers (and I bet there's a ton of them) will say this: The U.N. maintains it has legal immunity from such compensation claims. 


imagirlgeek
by Bronze Member on Oct. 10, 2013 at 1:06 AM

Yeah, I'm thinking this would be difficult to prove.  I'm pretty sure a person can carry the cholera bacteria without symptoms, and with all the sanitation problems they had in Haiti, it really was a perfect environment for something like this to spread.  I remember seeing a news report and in the background there was a child washing himself in a small stream, and further down were people scooping out of the same stream to drink.  

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