Haiti, Why Did UN Conceal Jail Slaughter, Shoot Into University?
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, May 26 -- Since the January earthquake in Haiti, the UN has
said publicly that it is partnering with the Haitian National Police,
and that it is unaware of evidence of HNP abuses of human rights
including summary executions.
were made by the head of the UN mission Edmund Mulet, and by deputy
"Rape Elates Me" Banbury, in press conferences and
video links with the Press at UN Headquarters.
of a slaughter of prisoners by the Haitian National Police in
January, in a semi collapsed jail while UN peacekeepers stood
outside. The question is, when did the UN know it, and why did the UN
come clean, but rather wait for the press to disclose it?
UN's Ban and Banbury, 4 months non disclosure of
prison murders not shown
noon briefing, Inner City Press asked:
City Press: In Haiti there was this incident where UN peacekeepers
reportedly fired teargas and rubber bullets and then chased students
into the campus of the university. What, I guess, what are the UN’s
policies both on the use of these two non-lethal crowd control
measures, and what training is given in terms of not violating local
customs of not having armed military — armed, in this case,
peacekeepers — going onto college campuses?
Nesirky: Well, first of all, the UN Mission in Haiti has issued an
apology concerning this incident. The troops went inside the
university to arrest a student who threw rocks at UN troops. But as
you know, and as the Secretary-General’s Special Representative has
said, UN troops should not enter university grounds. When it comes
to the question of use of teargas and rubber bullets and so on, I
would need to ask DPKO for more information on the rules for the use
of those kinds of…
City Press: [inaudible] and then on this, and I know that yesterday
you made this announcement that the UN is going to conduct a joint
investigation with the Government of the prison alleged killings. But
what I couldn’t figure out is when did the UN know? It seems
to many that this only became public because the New York Times ran
an exposé of it. When did the UN become aware of it, that there
an issue of how, that some of the prisoners may have been killed by
the Haitian National Police while peacekeepers were immediately
outside the jail? And why didn’t the UN go public at that time?
Well, certainly — a number of things. First of all, the Mission
was aware immediately [that] this incident took place. That’s the
first point. The second is that they immediately, the Human Rights
Section in that town, in Les Cayes, immediately began looking into
this. What you have to also remember is precisely when it took
place, 19 January, was very close to when the earthquake took place,
and therefore MINUSTAH — the Mission — and the rest of the UN
presence as well as, of course, the entire population of Haiti were
still digging themselves out of the rubble, metaphorically and
literally. Therefore I think you could probably understand that that
was the immediate first focus. This is taken extremely seriously,
and there already has been an investigation within MINUSTAH into what
happened in that prison. And there are already preliminary findings.
And it’s precisely because there were repeated requests for an
investigation by the Haitian National Police — and precisely
because that investigation has not yet been forthcoming — that
MINUSTAH went ahead with its own investigation and, secondly, has
also now, through Mr. [Edmond] Mulet, agreed with President
Préval that there should be an independent commission to look
City Press [inaudible] because there have been a series of press
conferences and video hook-ups with Mr. Mulet where questions of
killings by the Haitian National Police have come up. And I think in
one of them he said he wasn’t aware of any; then they have
described the Haitian National Police as a good partner of MINUSTAH.
Were any steps, again, [inaudible] I guess go back over and look at
those things, it wasn’t, I mean when you say MINUSTAH was aware,
was Mr. Mulet aware of this all the way back to January 19?
My understanding is that the Acting Head of the Mission at that
point, Mr. Mulet, was aware from early on — I don’t know
precisely which day. But as I say, there were many other things that
needed to be contended with at that point. And he takes it extremely
seriously. And I think that it has been pursued consistently and
seriously behind the scenes to try to ensure that the Haitian
National Police conduct an investigation. And that did not happen,
or not to the extent that was necessary, and that’s why both
MINUSTAH launched its own investigation with its own resources, and
has now additionally agreed with President Préval that there
be an independent commission. And the details of that are still
being worked out.
CITY PRESS: And just one last one on this. Were any steps taken to
not have MINUSTAH work with a particular unit or units of the Haitian
National Police that the UN had reason to believe were engaged in
this killing of prisoners?
I’d have to find that out, I’d have to find that out, but it’s
standard practice in other operational areas to take precisely those
kinds of measures.
We'll be waiting. Watch this space.
* * *
Defends Use of Haiti Love Boat, Belated Moratorium on Evictions, No Times
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, April 28 -- When the UN's top representative in Haiti Edmond
Mulet emerged from the Security Council on Wednesday, only one
journalist was there. One of his staffers asked Inner City Press,
what happened to the interest in Haiti? What indeed.
to take questions. Inner City Press asked about forced evictions from
the soccer stadium on Port au Prince on April 9, and from at least
two schools. Mulet acknowledged these had happened, but said that he
and others met with Haitian authorities "last Thursday" --
that is, April 22 -- and that going forward there would be a
moratorium. But what about the 7000 evicted from the stadium?
asked about the so-called Love Boats, two luxury ships rented by the
World Food Program and one sub-contracted to Mulet's mission
MINUSTAH. Mulet said this was only temporary, that a camps is being
built to house up to 500 people. Currently 200 are housed on board.
At what cost, he said, he did not know.
UN DSG Migiro, watched by Edmond Mulet, April 9
eviction not shown
April 1, Kim
Bolduc left after a mere four months as UN Resident Coordinator in
Haiti. Inner City Press, which exclusively reported the departure,
asked Mulet to explain it. We "discussed her reasons for
leaving," Mulet said, without disclosing them. Video here,
notes: Inner City Press asked Mulet about the day's front page New
York Times story on seemingly forgotten parts of Haiti, assuming he
would have read it. "I haven't," he said. Does this reflect
on UN media readiness, on pay walls or that the Paper of Record is
not what it once was? Last week, UN spokesman Martin Nesirky said he
would seek guidance on a New York Times editorial pillorying the UN's
performance in Afghanistan. But a week later, no response. Does the
UN feel no need?
some in the UN are thinking of further limiting press availability. A
UN press aide, seeing only this reporter waiting for Mulet, said that
maybe the stakeouts should be canceled. Or not be televised, so
reporters had to come. Or televised on a delay. Serve sandwiches and
liquor, one wag suggested. Then the press will come. And so it goes.
Silent on Haiti Evictions, Says Rented Love Boat is Not a Luxury
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, April 15 -- While the UN speaks of the humane relocation of
Haitians, on April 9 the Haitian National Police summarily evicted
over 7000 people from the Sylvio Cator soccer stadium in
Port-au-Prince. The stadium's managers said that "the Taiwanese
are planning to repair the bleachers and replace the artificial
turf," which the earthquake survivors had reportedly damaged.
UN had send
Deputy Secretary General Asha Rose Migiro to Haiti for the three
month anniversary of the January 12 earthquake. On April 15, Inner
City Press asked DSG Migiro if the UN had planned any role in the
eviction, if the UN had been informed by the HNP, which UN officials
have described as a "partner," prior to the evictions.
that despite her visit, she was unaware of the eviction. She said
that some relocations are involuntary, but are intended to move
people to higher ground before the rainy season. Those in the soccer
stadium, however, were merely given one small tent per family, and
were otherwise left to fend for themselves.
contrast, the UN
system has rented luxury cruise ships on which to house its
international staff. Inner City Press asked Ms. Migiro about these
ships. She disputed that they were luxury liners, despite the ship's
owner's own photographs. She said she had been aware of the
controversy, but had not visited the ships.
UN rented Sea Voyager- not luxurious? Piano honky tonk?
conference, several correspondents remarked how her presentation
style has improved since the halting and hurried MDGs presentations
earlier in her tenure. The Secretariat's communications arm, on the
other hand, seems to be moving backwards. Wednesday that Office said
it would explain why Ms. Migiro's predessessor Mark Malloch Brown was
at the UN Chief Executives Board meetings last week in Vienna. But a
day later, no answer has been provided.
Later on Thursday, as SG Ban Ki-moon marched with his entourage into
the Security Council, Mr. Ban asked Inner City Press about the new
press arrangements. We still have less access that before, Inner City
Press replied, but pointed out that after a fight, the press was
allowed in a pen in front of the Council entrance. Mr. Ban indicated,
seemingly joking, that this made him more vulnerable. But there are
questions to be answered.
them is why
the UN said nothing when it learned that its U.S. staff member Louis
Maxwell and other colleagues in Kabul were quite possible killed by
Afghan National forces and not the Taliban. Already this week Mr. Ban
has said he was unaware of the case of Al-Tijani Al-Sissi Ateem, who
was recruited as a pro-government Darfur rebel leader by the UN-AU
mediator Djibril Bassole while Ateem was being paid as a UN staffer.
(Inner City Press has been promised both contact information for Mr.
Bassole, and a further answer about his activities, neither of which
has yet been provided).
Ban say he is
unaware of the troubling case of Louis Maxwell? Watch this site.
for an Inner City Press YouTube channel video, mostly UN Headquarters
footage, about civilian
in Sri Lanka.
Click here for Inner City
Press' March 27 UN debate
Click here for Inner City
Press March 12 UN (and AIG
Click here for Inner City
Press' Feb 26 UN debate
12 debate on Sri Lanka http://bloggingheads.tv/diavlogs/17772?in=11:33&out=32:56
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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for a Reuters
AlertNet piece by this correspondent
about Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army. Click
for an earlier Reuters AlertNet piece about the Somali
Reconciliation Congress, and the UN's $200,000 contribution from an
undefined trust fund. Video
Office: S-453A, UN, NY 10017
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