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Haitian cholera victims sue United Nations

Oct. 9, 2013 at 7:55 AM

NEW YORK, Oct. 9 (UPI) -- An advocacy group for victims of a cholera epidemic in Haiti is suing the United Nations, saying the organization was responsible for introducing the disease.

Cholera killed more than 8,300 Haitians and sickened more than 650,000 people after an earthquake ravaged the country in 2010. The disease had largely been absent from the country for 100 years prior to the outbreak, The New York Times reported Tuesday.

Forensic studies tracked the source of the disease to Nepalese members of the U.N. Stabilization Mission in Haiti and a flawed sanitation system at the Nepalese peacekeeper base.

The Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti is representing four of the cholera victims, who are suing the United Nations in New York, the Times said. The amount of compensation sought has yet to be determined.

"We are asking for the judge to find the United Nations liable," said Beatrice Lindstrom, a spokeswoman for the institute. "It has violated its legal obligations through reckless actions that brought cholera to Haiti."

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