UN rejects damage claim for more than 5,000 Haiti cholera victims, citing diplomatic immunity

The United Nations has rejected a claim for damages on behalf of more than 5,000 Haitian cholera victims and their families, citing diplomatic immunity.

The claim was filed in November 2011 by the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti, a Boston-based human rights group.

It argued that the U.N. and its peacekeeping force are liable for hundreds of millions of dollars for failing to adequately screen peacekeeping soldiers, citing studies indicating that infected soldiers caused the cholera outbreak.

U.N. spokesman Martin Nesirky said the United Nations informed representatives of the group of the rejection on Thursday.

Nesirky said Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon also called Haitian President Michel Martelly to inform him of the decision "and to reiterate the commitment of the United Nations to the elimination of cholera in Haiti."