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Group Representing Haitian Cholera Victims Reacts To Ban’s Recent Letter To U.S. Lawmakers

Thomson Reuters Foundation examines the reaction of lawyers with the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti (IJDH) to a letter U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon sent to U.S. lawmakers last week, responding to a May 30 letter signed by 19 members of the U.S. House of Representatives. The IJDH has “led an effort to claim compensation on behalf of 5,000 cholera victims and their families since the outbreak began in late 2010,” the news service writes, noting, “The group filed claims in November 2011 against the U.N., demanding hundreds of millions of dollars in compensation for cholera victims and a public apology.” According to the news service, IJDH head Brian Concannon “said the U.N. has refused to consider resolving the cholera victims’ claims outside of court, meet with victims or their lawyers, and set up a claims commission as required by its own treaty.” Reuters notes, “The U.N. has said it is committed to tackling cholera in Haiti and the neighboring Dominican Republic … through a $2.2 billion donor aid program known as the Hispaniola Initiative over the next 10 years, but critics say the amount is insufficient.” According to the news service, “Rights group IJDH says it will take the case against the U.N. to courts in Haiti, the U.S., or Europe” (Moloney, 7/10).