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May 09, 2013

Lawyers for Haiti Cholera Victims Threaten UN Lawsuit

by VOA News

Lawyers working on behalf of cholera victims in Haiti have given the United Nations 60 days to compensate those sickened by the disease or face a lawsuit in a U.S. court.

The Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti announced the deadline Wednesday, their latest step in seeking $100,000 for the families of each of those who died from a cholera outbreak that began in October 2010. They also want $50,000 for those who became sick but survived.

More than 8,000 people have died since the outbreak that began after a devastating earthquake in Haiti.

U.N. peacekeepers from Nepal are suspected of bringing the disease into Haiti and spreading it into the water supply through poor sanitation at their camp. Cholera had not been documented in Haiti for decades and the strain responsible for the outbreak is one that is prevalent in South Asia.

The United Nations rejected a compensation claim in February, saying it is protected by immunity.

Lawyers representing 5,000 victims asserted in a letter to the United Nations that it is "legally obligated to settle claims" for deaths and injuries attributed to peacekeepers.