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Peace News log archive: October 2013

Articles from the Peace News log.
For archive articles from the whole site, look here

UN sued in Manhattan court over its role in the 2010 outbreak of cholera in Haiti that has claimed the lives of over 8000 people and infected over 650,000.

In a New York court yesterday a compensation claim against the UN was brought on behalf of the victims of the 2010 cholera outbreak in Haiti, the origins of which have been traced back to the organisation. More than 8,000 people have been killed with over 650,000 becoming ill as a result of the on-going outbreak of a disease that was previously only rarely experienced in Haiti despite numerous outbreaks in the region.

As noted in a previous Peace News blog piece, a number of scientific studies have shown that the cholera strain was likely brought into the country by Nepalese UN troops and spread after a river was contaminated with human waste from their barracks. Despite this, whilst professing his “profound sympathy for the terrible suffering caused by the cholera epidemic”, in February the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, dismissed such compensation claims citing the organisation’s immunities privileges.

One such study was entitled ‘Peacekeeping without Accountability’, a Yale University report published in August that provided a comprehensive analysis of the cause of the cholera outbreak the conclusion of which was in line with previous scientific investigations, stating that its research “overwhelming demonstrates” the origin was from the UN. As a consequence of these findings the report stressed that the organisation should be required to remedy as best as is possible the outbreak’s consequences and prevent its further spread.

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