UNITED NATIONS, Feb. 21 (Xinhua) -- A UN spokesperson said on Thursday that the UN is rejecting claims brought against it on by cholera victims in Haiti.
Martin Nesirky, spokesperson for UN Secretary-General Ban Ki- moon, said at the daily briefing, "I can confirm that we have informed counsel for the claimants that the claims are not receivable. Consideration of the claims would necessarily involve a review of political and policy matters."
The suit, brought against the UN in November 2011, could have been worth billions, as the Boston-based Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti was seeking 100,000 U.S. dollars for families of deceased victims and 50,000 U.S. dollars for people who had suffered any injury from the disease.
Nesirky said the UN was rejecting the claim under section 29 of the Convention on the Privileges and Immunities of the UN, adopted in 1946.
"The secretary-general telephoned 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," said Nesirky.
According to reports, about 8,000 people have died from the cholera outbreak which some have attributed to UN peacekeepers.
"Since the outbreak began in 2010, the United Nations and its partners have worked closely with the people and government of Haiti to provide treatment, improve water and sanitation facilities, and strengthen prevention and early warning," said Nesirky.
These efforts include an initiative launched by Ban in December 2012 "which aims to strengthen Haiti's own National Cholera Elimination Plan through significant investments and the use of an oral cholera vaccine," said the spokesperson.
"The secretary-general again expresses his profound sympathy for the terrible suffering caused by the cholera epidemic, and calls on all partners in Haiti and the international community to work together to ensure better health and a better future for the people of Haiti," he added.