U.N. Rejects Haiti’s Compensation Claim For Cholera Victims

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By Maya Shwayder | February 23, 2013 8:27 AM EST

The United Nations on Thursday rejected a compensation claim from Haiti for its cholera victims, who currently number in the 600,000-range, including around 8,000 deaths.

In a statement to reporters, Martin Nesirky, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon’s spokesman, said that the claim was “not receivable” under terms of a 1946 convention which laid out the UN's immunity for its actions.

The epidemic, which is the worst in modern history, broke out after the January 2010 earthquake in the poorest country in the western hemisphere. It is thought that the UN itself unwittingly introduced the disease through leaking sewage pipes in one of its buildings, the BBC said.

The UN has refused to accept responsibility, saying that the source of the outbreak is unidentifiable.

Lawyers for some of the victims said that the claim would have cost the UN more than $1 billion in damages, Al Jazeera reported.

The UN also said that they would continue their rebuilding efforts in Haiti. "The Secretary-General again expresses his profound sympathy for the terrible suffering caused by the cholera epidemic, and calls on all partners in Haiti and the international community to work together to ensure better health and a better future for the people of Haiti," Ban’s spokesman Nesirky said.

In December 2012, Ban announced the UN would be funding a $2.27 billion initiative to help eliminate cholera in Haiti and the Dominican Republic, the AP reported.

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