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After UN Killed 8000 in Haiti with Cholera, Suit Due Today: NYT Jumped First, But Will They Follow Thru?

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, October 8/9, updated -- After the UN brought cholera to Haiti which has killed over 8,000 people, and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said the legal claims of those killed were "not receivable," now the UN is slated to be sued on the morning of October 9, in a class action, in the US District Court for the Southern District of New York.

   This news was ostensibly under embargo until midnight between October 8 and 9. Inner City Press drafted the story below and sat on it for hours, to respect the embargo. Then the New York Times seemingly violated the embargo, without explanation. Droit de seigneur, apparently.

  But the question is: does the New York Times follow through and hold the UN accountable? Inner City Press' experience is, sadly, no.

 Tellingly, the New York Times recently profiled USUN Ambassador Samantha Power heavily relying on her tweets - - which as Inner City Press had shown on this site, in GoogleNews and, Power does not send. But hey, they're the New York Times.

  So why didn't they get Power's position on cholera in Haiti?

The truth will out, going forward. And we will cover it. For now:

  The plaintiff's attorneys told Inner City Press, during the embargo period, that the causes of action include negligence, gross negligence/recklessness, wrongful death, negligent supervision, negligent infliction of emotional distress, intentional infliction of emotional distress, private nuisance, public nuisance, and breach of contract.

  The contract breached is the UN's Status of Forces Agreement or SOFA, online here. Inner City Press has waiting until midnight October 8-9 to publish this, to respect the plaintiffs' embargo.

  The UN has continued to preach about the rule of law and about accountability, even as it has refused to even apologize for bringing cholera to Haiti.

   It has demanded that its other reports, for example on chemical weapons in Syria, be taken seriously even after it issued and defended a bogus report exonerating itself for having brought cholera to Haiti.

  Inner City Press has repeatedly asked the head of UN Peacekeeping, Herve Ladsous, if any improvements have been made to DPKO's practices; he has refused to answer. (Click here for a story from today's UK New Statements about that.)

  After even Haitian Prime Minister Lamonthe said the UN bears "moral responsibility for cholera in his country, Inner City Press asked the UN about it, twice. On September 30, Inner City Press asked, referring to "litigant or potential litigants" --

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. I wondered, given that he is the Prime Minister of the country, what the response of the Secretariat is to that?

Spokesperson Martin 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," 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: 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.

Then after being contacted from multiple legal and media sources in Haiti, Inner City Press on October 1 asked:

Inner City Press: there’s been a report in the media in Haiti that one of the things agreed to in the meeting between the Prime Minister and the Secretary-General was something called a joint commission to work on cholera that would begin its work on 10 October. Is that the case?

Spokesperson: The case is that the Secretary-General and the Prime Minister, as we said in our readout, discussed efforts, joint efforts, to eradicate cholera, amongst other matters, including relocating internally displaced people. And there is a senior coordinator within the UN system for the cholera response in Haiti, and he will remain in close touch with the Haitian Government and authorities, particularly with the aim of having joint efforts to eradicate cholera.

Inner City Press: Is there anything to this 10 October date in Haiti, [inaudible] dot com? They’ve made it seem like kind of a formal kicking off of a new project?

Spokesperson: As I say, the senior coordinator from the United Nations is in close contact with the Haitian authorities and I don’t have anything beyond that at this point.

And now, the class action lawsuit. There will be more. Watch this site.


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