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After 19 in Congress  Write UN on Haiti Cholera, US Tells ICP to Ask UN About It (Have)

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, July 2 -- A month ago, 19 members of the US Congress wrote to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon urging him to take responsibility for the introduction of cholera into Haiti. Inner City Press reported on the letter, but has gotten no satisfactory answer from the UN.

  On Tuesday as the US took over the presidency of the UN Security Council for July, Inner City Press asked acting Permanent Representative Rosemary DiCarlo about the letter. From the US Mission transcript:

Moderator: We'll go to Matt Lee.

Inner City Press: For the new Free U.N. Coalition for Access, thanks for doing this... In your national capacity, 19 members of Congress wrote to the Secretary-General last month about the role of the UN in, they said, the introduction of cholera into Haiti, urging them to take greater responsibility and for the UN to do more. And I wonder, is the Mission aware of that letter, and has it taken any action, or been asked to by those Congress people, to ensure greater UN action on that issue? Thanks.

Ambassador DiCarlo: Thanks for your question... Haiti cholera. I'm sorry, I haven't seen that letter, and we'd have to get back to you on that. [
Video here from Minute 19:40.]

  After Ambassador DiCarlo's press conference, her lead spokesperson Erin Pelton promised an answer. And lo and behold, at 9:45 pm on Tuesday the following came in, from US Mission spokesperson Kurtis Cooper:

The cholera outbreak resulted in a tragic loss of life just when Haiti was struggling to recover from the devastating earthquake of 2010. As part of the United States’ broad assistance program in Haiti, to date the United States has provided expertise and more than $95 million to respond to the outbreak and help prevent additional cases. As for the May 30th letter to the Secretary-General, we would refer you to the UN for a response.”

  The problem is, Ban Ki-moon's spokespeople refused to even confirm receipt of the letter, much less respond to its contents.

  Similarly on the other question Inner City Press put to Ambassador DiCarlo on Tuesday, the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations has refused for more than three days to even answer if they support units of the Congolese Army now named as involved in rape, torture, conflict gold trade and child soldier recruitment in the Group of Experts report which Inner City Press exclusively put online on June 29, here.

  The US is the host country to the UN, and its largest single national contributor. It is in the position to at least get Ban Ki-moon to respond to these Congress members' entreaty. Will they? Watch this site.

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