Wednesday, January 15, 2014

INTERVIEW: Brian Concannon talks IJDH lawsuit against UN for causing Haiti cholera outbreak on Reuters

BOGOTA (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Haiti is home to the largest cholera epidemic in the western hemisphere.

Nearly 8,500 Haitians have died from cholera since the water-borne disease broke out in October 2010. If current trends continue, it’s estimated 45,000 people could be affected by cholera this year.

Last year, a Boston-based rights group, Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti (IJDH), filed a lawsuit against the United Nations on behalf of cholera victims in Haiti. The lawsuit maintains the cholera epidemic was introduced by U.N. peacekeeping troops brought to Haiti from Nepal.

Some experts say that because the U.N. enjoys treaty-based privileges and immunities, the lawsuit is likely to be dismissed.

An independent panel, appointed by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to study the epidemic, issued a 2011 report that did not determine conclusively how the cholera was introduced to Haiti.

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