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On Haiti, Cholera & Nepal, UN Has No Safeguards, 9 Day Stonewall by

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, April 4, updated -- After the introduction of a strain of cholera from Nepal into Haiti killed thousands of people, currently a training for 800 troops from 23 countries for UN Peacekeeping missions is taking place... in Nepal.

  It would seem that UN Peacekeeping should have some safeguards in place, even though Secretary General Ban Ki-moon tersely dismissed legal claims about the cholera, calling them “not receivable.”

  But UN Peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous has repeatedly refused to answer any Press questions, about Haiti, cholera, safeguards, rapes by his partners in the Congolese Army, anything.

  About the Nepal training, on March 26, Inner City Press asked Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's spokesman Martin Nesirky

Inner City Press: Martin, I want to ask you about Nepal, there is beginning a two-week training; it is described as a training for UN peacekeeping missions of over 800 troops from 23 countries. Inevitably because outstanding allegation that it was Nepalese peacekeepers who inadvertently brought cholera to Haiti for not being screened, from, coming from a country in which cholera was prevalent at the time, what can you say to those who would say bringing prospective peacekeepers from 23 countries to Nepal might not be a good idea, absent some safeguards on DPKO’s (Department of Peacekeeping Operations) part on either screening or ensuring that what took place in Hait as is widely alleged doesn’t take place elsewhere. What’s your response?

Spokesperson Nesirky: I’ll check with DPKO.

On March 28, Ladsous again refused to answer Inner City Press questions at the stakeout broadcast by UN Television, run by the UN Department of Public Information.

On April 4, nine days after Nesirky said he would ask DPKO about any safeguards to not spread cholera again and kill people, Inner City Press asked the question again, this time to Ban's deputy spokesman Eduardo Del Buey. (Nesirky is traveling with Ban in San Marino, Andorra and Monaco).

What safeguards does DPKO have?

  Del Buey said, we'll check with DPKO. Video here from Minute 7:25

  But that's exactly when Nesirky said on the question, nine days before. Inner City Press asked Del Buey, “Did you check with DPKO?”

  Del Buey said yes.

  So Inner City Press asked, in light of the nine day with no answer to this basic question, if it would be fair to say that Ladsous' DPKO has no safeguard.

  Del Buey now protested, no, don't put words in my mouth.

  But nine days after being asked, by Ban's spokesman, if there are any safeguards, to have disclosed none: what else can it mean?

  What several member states' representatives now say is that Ladsous not remain as head of DPKO. As one of them suscinctly put it, “It's an experiment that's failed, he'd not cut out for it.” #LADSOUS2013.

Footnote: just before Del Buey's “we'll check with DPKO” nine days after Nesirky said just that, there was a press conference about landmines at which another of Ladsous' spokespeople -- not the noted microphone grabber -- was present. But still, no answers. No answers at all. Even a post-Ladsous DPKO has been run into the ground.

Update: Ten minutes after publication of this article, and nine days after the questions were asked, this partial answer was suddenly sent:

From: UN Spokesperson - Do Not Reply <>
Date: 2013/4/4
Subject: Answer to your questions
To: Matthew.Lee [at]

Regarding your question about Nepal's training of peacekeepers from 23 different countries, our answer is: that's a US-led/funded training programme.

But it's explicitly FOR UN Peacekeeping missions. And in any event, the question is what safeguards DPKO has to ensure not spreading cholera and killing people. Total failure.

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