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As UN Dodges "Moral Responsibility" on Haiti Cholera, a Joint Commission?

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, October 1 -- After bringing cholera to Haiti, the UN of Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has repeatedly said that all claims for the more than 8,000 people killed are "not receivable."

But as reported in Haiti, has Ban now agreed to a "joint commission" with the Haiti government on the issue, with work to begin on October 10?

At the September 30 UN noon briefing, Inner City Press asked Ban's spokesperson Martin Nesirky:

Inner City Press: On Haiti, the speech by the Prime Minister in the General Assembly said that the UN has “moral responsibility for the eruption of the cholera epidemic”, and said that the response is far from being sufficient, and I wondered, given that he is the Prime Minister of the country, what the response of the Secretariat is to that?

Spokesperson Nesirky: Well, the Secretary-General met with the Prime Minister of Haiti, and they discussed the question of cholera in Haiti, and the focus was very much on handling that outbreak and the need, specifically, for additional funding. There is something of a shortfall in funding for that, and that is precisely what the focus is on.

Inner City Press: But this phrase “moral responsibility," some have made something of it because up until now the Government has resisted saying the things that the litigants or potential litigants are saying, and so is, does this change anything that the Government uses this phrase?

Spokesperson Nesirky: The focus of the United Nations and, as we understand it, of the Haitian authorities is to help the people of Haiti to overcome the cholera epidemic. And a key component of that is funding.

The UN's read-out of Ban's meeting with Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe said that "they discussed the current situation in Haiti, including political developments, joint efforts to eradicate cholera and the relocation of internally displaced persons. The Secretary-General called on the Government of Haiti to continue working closely with his Special Representative, Sandra Honoré, on the strengthening of the Haitian National Police and the continued consolidation of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH)."

This phrase "joint efforts to eradicate cholera" was unpacked in Haitian media, "The idea of the Joint Commission was welcomed by Mr. Ban Ki Moon and Sandra Honoré [Special Representative of the Secretary-General of the United Nations in Haiti] which confirmed the arrival in Haiti, on 10 and 11 October, of UN experts to begin the work of this Commission."

So what IS this Commission? Watch this site.


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