Rights Group Suing U.N. For Haiti’s Cholera Epidemic

Advocates are seeking thousands of dollars in compensation for victims

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A woman helps her sister as she is being treated for cholera in a facility in Cabaret, Haiti.

Human rights advocates are suing the United Nations over a deadly cholera outbreak that has killed thousands of Haitians in the last three years. The Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti is filing the lawsuit in a Manhattan court on Wednesday, according to the New York Times. The group is seeking compensation for victims and claims that a U.N. peacekeeping mission introduced the disease via sewers in its barracks.

U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said that the issue must be investigated and cholera victims have a right to be compensated — without saying who she thought should pay. According to a lawyer for the rights group, Pillay’s public support could be a “game changer” for victims seeking compensation from the U.N., which maintains it has legal immunity from such claims.

More than 8,300 people in Haiti have died and another 650,000 have fallen ill from cholera since October 2010. While the country is dependent on the U.N. to provide basic services and maintain stability, Haiti’s Prime Minister has said that the organization’s efforts to combat cholera have been far from sufficient.

[New York Times]