Haiti victims file cholera lawsuit against UN

NEW YORK CITY (AFP) - Lawyers acting for victims of a Haiti cholera epidemic on Wednesday filed a lawsuit against the United Nations over the outbreak that killed more than 8,300 people.

The US-based Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti (IJDH) says it is representing 8,000 victims and families of those who died since the epidemic began in October 2010.

“We’ve just filed the cholera suit against @UN!” the organization tweeted ahead of a news conference.

In May, the victims had given the United Nations a 60-day deadline to clinch a compensation deal or face a lawsuit in New York in connection with the deaths.

The United Nations said in February it was legally immune from action over the epidemic, which has sickened more than 650,000 people.

The epidemic’s source has been traced to a river that runs next to a UN peacekeepers’ camp in the central town of Mirebalais, where Nepalese troops had been based. The strain of cholera is the same as one endemic in Nepal.

The IJDH says the cholera epidemic continues to kill about 1,000 Haitians a year.