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On Cholera, UN Has “Nothing Further to Say,” Hypocrisy Call from Haiti

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, July 8 --After UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon belatedly responded late Friday to the May 30 letter from 19 members of the US Congress urging him to take responsibility for the UN introducing cholera into Haiti, Inner City Press put the letter online and wrote about it Saturday and Sunday. (Now, here's Ban's letter to the Congress members, as a single PDF, here.)

  At Monday's noon briefing, Inner City Press asked Ban's spokesperson Martin Nesirky to respond to those who see a major contradiction between the claim to care so much for Haiti while denying all legal claims of having introduced cholera.

I don't have anything further on that topic today,” Nesirky replied. Video here, from Minute 23:30.

  But Mario Joseph of the Bureau des Avocats Internationaux, lead counsel for the 5000 victims and families who filed claims against the UN in November 2011, does have a response: ““The hypocrisy of the UN’s position is clear to the victims of UN cholera and everyone else in Haiti. The UN claims a mission of promoting the rule of law, and regularly lectures Haitian citizens and officials about the need to submit to the law. Yet the UN will not even explain why it is not subject to its own laws.”

  Inner City Press has asked the UN mission MINUSTAH when its radio station MinustahFM will belatedly cover Ban Ki-moon's response to the Congress members, so far without response.

  The UN is not responsive, particularly but not only its peacekeeping missions under Herve Ladsous who outright refuses to answer Press questions, see video compilation here.

  Brian Concannon of the Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti, who is co-counsel on the case, had this response: “We now have no choice but to take the UN to court to stop cholera’s killing and seek justice for victims and their families. The cholera victims, the U.S. Congress and the taxpayers around the world who fund the UN all deserve better.”

  While while Haiti cholera may be the worst example in recent years, there are other saying that of this UN as well. This is a new low.

The 19 members of Congress who wrote to Ban Ki-moon include: Maxine Waters, Barbara Lee, Yvette D. Clarke, Frederica S. Wilson, Jan Schakowsky, John Conyers, Jr., Alcee L. Hastings, Charles B. Rangel, Corrine Brown, Donald M. Payne, Jr., Bobby L. Rush, Wm. Lacy Clay, Raúl M. Grijalva, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, John Lewis, Gregory W. Meeks, Donna F. Edwards, Keith Ellison and Carolyn B. Maloney.
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