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After MSF Slams UN Failure in CAR, Amos Disappointed by Letter, ACF

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, January 2 --When UN Humanitarian chief Valerie Amos on January 2 described response in the Central African Republic after citing the UN's new "Rights Up Front" promises, Inner City Press asked her a question about it. Video here, from Minute 17:37.

   Last month, Doctors Without Borders slammed the UN non-response in the CAR in an open letter asserting:

"MSF has repeatedly asked UN agencies to deliver food, tents and soap to the more than 15,000 people displaced in the vicinity of Bangui’s airport, without any reaction; in Bossangoa, UN aid officials on security lock-down inside the FOMAC compound did not even provide assistance to the displaced sheltering inside the same compound, forcing MSF to intervene once more. Following the fighting in Bossangoa, the UN remained on security lock-down for days, abandoning the more than 30,000 displaced persons in the main Bossangoa camps, while MSF and ACF teams move through the city to provide emergency assistance."

  Inner City Press on January 2 asked Amos about the MSF letter, and if the UN is now as requested in Yaloké and Bouca. Apparently not -- these were not among the places Amos rattled off.

  Amos said she was disappointed by MSF's letter, that MSF had not acknowledged that UN facilities had been looted. She acknowledged that the UN can and must do more. But some wonder, when will this UN really put "Rights Up Front"?

Background: In belated response to its failure in Sri Lanka, Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's administration came out with a "Rights Up Front" plan. Inner City Press obtained and published a leaked copy; Ban's spokesperson Martin Nesirky said it "may or may not exist."

  Now Deputy Secretary General Jan Eliasson has cited Rights Up Front in speaking of Central African Republic, as has UN Human Rights deputy Ivan Simonovic, vying to shift much of the UN's "rule of law" machinery into his office.

  But what MSF described is hardly "Rights Up Front." Inner City Press is asking and asking about it.

 Amos said MSF and other partners -- this would include Action Contre la Faim, ACF, which the letter cites -- are able to go places that the UN isn't. But in Sri Lanka, ACF says the government slaughtered its workers. And what is the UN doing?  Watch this site.


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