25 February 2013

UN Turns Down Haitian Cholera Victim Compensation

The UN continues to deny responsibility for the cholera outbreak in Haiti. It also now claims it is immune from compensating Haitian cholera victims.

UN Secretary General Ban ki-Moon told Haiti’s President Michael Martelly that the UN is both unwilling and not required to compensate the victims.

The United Nations advised the claimants’ representatives that the claims are not receivable pursuant to Section 29 of the Convention on the Privileges and Immunities of the United Nations,” spokesperson Martin Nesirky told reporters in New York.

Evidence that the outbreak came from Nepalese UN peacekeepers is overwhelming, but the UN has yet to claim responsibility. A lawsuit brought against the UN by the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti (IJDH) in November 2011 called for a national water and sanitation system, compensation to the victims and a public apology from the UN to the victims.

Reactions to the announcement were swift. “It is dis­grace­ful that the UN will not even con­sider com­pen­sat­ing the thou­sands of fam­i­lies who have lost their chil­dren, moth­ers, fathers, broth­ers and sis­ters due to the UN’s wrong­do­ing,” said lead counsel of the lawsuit against the UN Mario Joseph, Av. of the Bureau des Avo­cats Inter­na­tionaux, in a press release. The groups associated with the lawsuit pledged to keep up their fight.

The Guardian reported reactions from some Haitians who were affected by the outbreak. Alix MacGuffie from Saint Marc, Haiti was infected with cholera in July 2011 and expressed disappointment in the news.

“I could have died from cholera. The UN caused us much harm and we should get compensation. If we don’t stop cholera, what will happen in the future?” said MacGuffie.