Burns and Suffers, UN Stonewalls on Voting and Cholera in Camp
December 8 -- Amid protests of electoral fraud in Haiti,
UN finds itself hindered by increasing reports that its peacekeepers
introduced cholera to Haiti. Meanwhile the UN refuses to answer
questions, about whether the 100,000 people in Camp Corail were even
allowed to vote, what precautions are being taken against a “cholera
time bomb” there, even about how much it pays its spokespeople in
has been pending with Ban Ki-moon's spokesman's office since November
26. On December 8, Inner City Press asked Ban's spokesman Martin
Nesirky questions about peacekeepers and cholera:
Press: There have been a lot of protests of the results that
were just announced, and it’s said that the headquarters of
Préval’s party have been lit aflame, and the article says there
was no UN peacekeeping presence. Has the UN’s terms of engagement
or protection presence changed at all? Why were they not there while
this party headquarters was burned down?
Well, you say they weren’t there. Let’s check. As you just
heard, the Secretary-General is concerned about the acts of violence. I
just read you that statement. The unrest is continuing after the
release of the election results. And as you know, MINUSTAH, the
Mission, has a very clear role in supporting the Haitian National
Police on the ground. Let me find out. I’m sure we’ll be able
to tell you precisely what has been going on on the ground.
later, no further information had been provided by Ban's Spokesman's
Office, about the violence or about cholera and Camp Corail.
Press asked about the Camp:
Press: And I wanted to ask, there is also, there were reports
about this camp, Corail, saying two things. Saying, number one, that
there was no… 100,000 people lived there and that the polling
station wasn’t open on 28 November, and also quoting the NGO that
runs the camp as having warned Nigel Fisher that it’s a time bomb
for [inaudible] having received no response by the UN’s cluster
system. And I just wonder, what is… is the UN aware of this, of
the lack of the ability to vote of 100,000 people in the camp as
reported, and also of this… What’s being done to cut off the
spread of cholera to this concentration of 100,000 people?
Well, the first thing is that what the Mission has been saying and
what the Secretary-General has also said is that there are formal
channels. There are legal procedures to be able to appeal or to
lodge complaints about the conduct of the elections, the preliminary
results of which were announced last night. And there is a time
frame for doing that, and that’s so any complaints that surface
should be lodged and then they can be looked into by the appropriate
to cholera, I think that this is an important point that the
key task for humanitarian workers on the ground is to help those
people and to avoid the further spread to the extent that it is
possible. Now, as I understand it, an appeal was made for funding to
help the people on the ground — $174 million was required and
requested specifically for cholera, to help to fight this epidemic on
the ground. So, it’s only 20 per cent funded. That makes the work
of the humanitarian teams on the ground rather difficult. And of
course, any tension on the ground — tension in Haiti as a result of
unrest, because of the release of the election results — that also
hinders the work of humanitarian staff trying to treat people and to
prevent the further spread of cholera.
Press: I understand all that. I guess I just… it seems like
this article that’s in the Min Post, I guess Minnesota, saying…
quoting this guy, Brian Castro of the American Refugee Committee,
saying it was raised in a cluster committee meeting, that he’s
received no response and a request to interview Fisher went
unanswered. Obviously he is busy, but I wonder if maybe you can get
some answer from MINUSTAH what… I understand even despite the lack
of funds… what is… can nothing be done, are they unaware of this
warning by the NGO that actually runs the camp?
You mean that particular camp?
Press: Yes, that camp.
Let me find out. But I think the suggestion that nothing can be
done is clearly not right. As much as can be done is being done. More
could be done, undoubtedly, if all the funding was received. But as
that funding continues to flow in, the people on the ground
are doing, the people across Haiti from the UN and from NGOs as well,
are doing their very best to help to fight this outbreak and to treat
those who have already shown the symptoms of cholera. You said you
had another question.
Again, six hours later, no information had been
provided. Watch this site.
* * *
Admits APC in Ditch, In Denial on Shooting & Cholera
23 -- The UN's dismissive attitude in Haiti to
those who question it was on display on Tuesday when MINUSTAH chief
Edmond Mulet repeatedly called demonstrations on the possible role of
UN peacekeepers in introducing cholera politically motivated.
that other than a case where 100 people with “machetes and
guns” attacked four peacekeepers, they had not fired nor killed any
asked about a November 17 incident in Cap Haitien where a UN armored
personnel carrier fell into a ditch and had bottles thrown at it,
after which witnesses say a civilian was shot dead. Mulet
acknowledged an APC in a ditch, but denied any exchange of fire.
Fisher, and then Mulet, called the Cedimat clinic in the Dominican
Republic “independent” and credible. But Mulet confirmed that
Cedimat has had a contract with MINUSTAH since 2004. The head doctor
specializes in obesity. “Maybe the director general has another
specialty,” Mulet said.
UN's Ban shown around by Mulet (&
Montas), Nov 17 shooting & cholera origins not shown
asked UN acting Deputy Spokesperson Farhan Haq about
reports that a Chilean component of the MINUSTAH force engaged with
demonstrators in Cap Haitien in a separate incident on November 15,
following which a dead body was found
on 24th Street. Video here,
Minute 45:09. To questions about the source of the
cholera and how it has been investigated, Haq referred back to
deputy for Field Support Tony Banbury,
previously quoted that
three rapes in the Haitian camp “almost elated him,” was reportedly
providing more UN perspective to a wire service based in a country
which previously occupied Haiti.
previously had Banbury give exclusive interviews on topics of wider
concern, during his Banbury would deny “conspiracy theories”
without having to directly engage the arguments against the UN (for
example, in the alleged cover up
of the murder of UN staff member
Louis Maxwell by Afghan National Forces, click here for that).
debate the appropriateness of such a “spin strategy” anywhere by
the UN, in the case of Haiti it has worked particularly badly. The
failure to investigate, and statements
to the effect that it doesn't
matter where the cholera came from, have led to deadly protests
against the UN. Deadly for the protesters -- and it is not yet clear
how many. Watch this site.