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Rights Advocates Suing U.N. Over the Spread of Cholera in Haiti

Image: A cholera outbreak in Haiti that began in 2010 has killed 8,300 people and sickened 650,000. Damon Winter/The New York Times

Image: A cholera outbreak in Haiti that began in 2010 has killed 8,300 people and sickened 650,000. Damon Winter/The New York Times

nytimes.com - October 8th, 2013 - Rick Gladstone

Advocates for Haitian victims of the deadly cholera epidemic that first afflicted their country three years ago said they were taking the extraordinary step on Wednesday of suing the United Nations, asserting that the organization’s peacekeeping force in Haiti was responsible for introducing the disease through sewage contamination from its barracks.

The lawsuit, which the advocates said they would file in Federal District Court in Manhattan on Wednesday morning, will be the strongest action they have taken in pressing the United Nations to acknowledge at least some culpability for the outbreak of cholera, a highly contagious scourge spread through human feces that had been largely absent from Haiti for 100 years.

Cholera has killed more than 8,300 Haitians and sickened more than 650,000 in the earthquake-ravaged country, the poorest in the Western Hemisphere, since it first reappeared in October 2010.

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