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In Haiti, UNDP Paying $4.47 a Day to Demolish, Few Safeguards on Right to Return, DR Congo Protests

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, February 4 -- The UN Development Program, with which Bill Clinton is to coordinator aid to Haiti, bragged Thursday about $2.5 million being given by the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Inner City Press asked UNDP's Jordan Ryan to respond to protests in the DRC about the grant, when Congolese people are under-served and unprotected, and asked if UNDP had sought out this contribution.

  Ryan said the grant shows solidarity, and that UNDP is the "vehicle." Video here, from Minute 11:14. He didn't disclose, but should, what overhead fees UNDP is charging -- as high at 10% in some contexts. Given how much UNDP has in the bank, might it not waive such fees in the case of Haiti?

  When UNDP new Associate Administrator Rebecca Grynspan -- according to African Ambassador, she took a post that had been promised to Africa, ironic in light of the happy talk about accepting also a $2.5 million grant from the DRC -- briefed the Press about UNDP's "cash for work" in Haiti, she said it would be $5 a day.

  Since then, some have said $3 a day. Inner City Press asked Ryan, who said it is $4.47 a day, set by the government. Much of the work being done involves demolishing buildings in Port au Prince.

  Inner City Press asked, since UNDP is involved in knocking buildings down, what safeguards will be in place that people can return? Video here, from Minute 28:45. These questions were asked about New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina -- why not in Haiti? Ryan responded with platitudes about recovery plans with, among others, the World Bank. Great.

UNDP's Jordan Ryan, overhead costs and rebuilding plans not shown

  Meanwhile at the IMF, Inner City Press asked about criticism, including by a UN expert, of the IMF issuing a new loan rather than grant to Haiti. IMF Spokeswoman Caroline Atkinson said that nothing would have to be paid until 2012. And then? Watch this site.

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UN Claims No More Tear Gas, Dodging Wyclef Jean, Killings by Haitian Police

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, February 1 -- Of the UN's use of tear gas in Haiti, the UN first denied it, then called it routine and regulated. Now, with its quasi partner Wyclef Jean saying he will speak to Secretary General Ban Ki-moon about this "unacceptable" practice, the UN is at once acknowledging past use and saying it won't happen in the future.

Inner City Press at the February 1 noon briefing asked top Haiti envoy Edmond Mulet and his new adviser Michele Montas about Wyclef Jean's protest of the UN. Video here, from Minute 25:51.

  Mr. Mulet answered that in the "first days" after the earthquake, there were "some of this incidents."

   "All that has been taken care of," he said. "That is not happening anymore." This was tied, as he presented it, not to any swearing off of pepper spray, but due to what he called the instant success of the World Food Program's shift to distributing food coupons rather than food, only to women. He was asked about reports of some distributions breaking down this very day.

   Ban Ki-moon traveled to Haiti with Wyclef Jean in March 2009, accompanied by Bill Clinton. What does he think of the UN's use of tear gas?

  The Haitian National Police, with whom the UN proudly collaborates, are known to have shot and killed a number of "scavengers," and even some others.

  Inner City Press asked Mulet about this. Mulet said the UN has "heard reports," acknowledged that "maybe elements of the HNP" shot at "looters." Video here, from Minute 27:37.

   Earlier, the UN had urged journalists not to report on "looters."

UN's Ban, Wyclef Jean and Bill Clinton, earlier - tear gas answers not shown

 Now, the term is deployed in connection with killings by the UN's partner the Haitian National Police. Meanwhile, there are reports of the HNP committing summary executions. Where is the UN's Special Rapporteur on executions, Philip Alston, when you need him? Mulet claimed the UN is "investigating" cases of killings by the HNP. Inner City Press was allowed no follow up questions at the briefing, nor any questions to UNDP's coordinator. Watch this site.

 Click here for an Inner City Press YouTube channel video, mostly UN Headquarters footage, about civilian deaths in Sri Lanka.

Click here for Inner City Press' March 27 UN debate

Click here for Inner City Press March 12 UN (and AIG bailout) debate

Click here for Inner City Press' Feb 26 UN debate

Click here for Feb. 12 debate on Sri Lanka

Click here for Inner City Press' Jan. 16, 2009 debate about Gaza

Click here for Inner City Press' review-of-2008 UN Top Ten debate

Click here for Inner City Press' December 24 debate on UN budget, Niger

Click here from Inner City Press' December 12 debate on UN double standards

Click here for Inner City Press' November 25 debate on Somalia, politics

and this October 17 debate, on Security Council and Obama and the UN.

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These reports are usually also available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis.

Click here for a Reuters AlertNet piece by this correspondent about Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army. Click here for an earlier Reuters AlertNet piece about the Somali National Reconciliation Congress, and the UN's $200,000 contribution from an undefined trust fund.  Video Analysis here

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