Inner City Press

Inner City Press -- Investigative Reporting From the United Nations to Wall Street to the Inner City

These reports are usually available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis

Google
  Search innercitypress.com Search WWW (censored?)

In Other Media-eg New Statesman, AJE, FP, Georgia, NYT Azerbaijan, CSM Click here to contact us     .

,



Follow us on TWITTER

Home -

These reports are usually available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis

CONTRIBUTE

(FP Twitterati 100, 2013)

ICP on YouTube

BloggingHeads.tv
Sept 24, 2013

UN: Sri Lanka

VoA: NYCLU

FOIA Finds  

Google, Asked at UN About Censorship, Moved to Censor the Questioner, Sources Say, Blaming UN - Update - Editorial

Support this work by buying this book

Click on cover for secure site orders

also includes "Toxic Credit in the Global Inner City"
 

 

 


Community
Reinvestment

Bank Beat

Freedom of Information
 

How to Contact Us



As Ban Talks Rule of Law, On Haiti Cholera UN Won't Say If Got Papers, Song

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, February 19, with a song -- The "Rule of Law" debate in the UN Security Council on February 19 has been noted by some because it still lists Ukraine as the 34th of 67 speakers. But of "grave concern," as UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon characterized Ukraine, was Ban's opening remarks, compared for example to the UN's record of impunity in Haiti.

  Ban said "the rule of law is at the heart of our work at the United Nations." But after being accused in detail of bringing cholera to Haiti, Ban and UN refused to even accept legal papers from the class action lawsuit that's been filed.

  Inner City Press on February 13 asked Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's spokesperson Martin Nesirky:

Inner City Press: on Haiti, I understand the position of not commenting on the cholera litigation, but maybe you can ask the Office for Legal Affairs whether the UN has actually accepted service or process of the papers. There were some earlier problems, and Iíve heard from them that they actually managed to serve two individuals so Iím asking you, just a yes or no answer whether papers were received.

Spokesperson Nesirky: Well, I canít give either because I will need to check.

  But five days have passed and no answer has been received. The "two individuals" namelessly referred to by Inner City Press in its question were Ban Ki-moon and Edmond Mulet, who spoke on the issue last Fall as shown in the Inner City Press YouTube video here and embedded below.

   In the face of such stonewalling, of such a blue wall of silence, Inner City Press today uploads the first, raw version of its new song on the topic, here.

Last month the UN's envoy on cholera in Haiti Pedro Medrano was quoted by Agence France Presse that legal wrangling over the epidemic had to be put aside in order to tackle the sweeping advance of the disease.

   Since when Inner City Press has asked, the UN has repeatedly refused to comment on, or access legal papers in, the class action lawsuit against it for bringing cholera to Haiti, this seemed strange.

  At the UN's January 23 noon briefing Inner City Press asked Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's acting deputy spokesperson Farhan Haq how much if anything -- beyond its credibility -- the lawsuit has cost the UN, and if the UN has accepted service of legal papers.

  Haq said the UN will not comment on the lawsuit.  But, Inner City Press pointed out, the UN's Medrano DID comment on the lawsuit, saying it should be put aside.

  Then Haq said that is not the quote, pulling out the AFP article. It appears the UN chose AFP or even this AFP correspondent Tim Witcher to make its pitch for money while avoiding dealing with its responsibility for the cholera. (The correspondent Witcher was called on first at the January 23 noon briefing, and said to Haq, "On behalf of Pam, I welcome you," referring to Pamela Falk of CBS, the president of the United Nations Correspondents Association now known as the UN's Censorship Alliance.)

  How could that AFP article not have pursued the lawsuit angle? This is how the UN -- and its chosen scribes -- work, or don't work. And it is being challenged and protested by the new Free UN Coalition for Access.

    On the fourth anniversary of the earthquake in Haiti, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon issued a 312-word statement to UN staff there. He began, appropriately, with "grief" - but nowhere in the statement did he mention the word "cholera," much less that the UN is nearly universally viewed as having brought cholera to Haiti, through a deployment of peacekeepers from Nepal coupled with lax UN sanitation practices.

In New York, the UN dodged the claims and questions from Inner City Press about if it has standing claims commissions anywhere -- the answer is no -- and if it even now screens for cholera before deployment -- the answer is still no. Most recently, the UN has refused to accept service of legal papers in the class action lawsuit filed against it. And see below:

   When asked inside the UN about bringing cholera to Haiti, spokespeople for UN Peacekeeper have for months been telling the Press "we have nothing more to say," or more recently, "that is not a yet or no question."

  In November 2013 Inner City Press went two blocks from the UN to a panel discussion with UN Peacekeeping and the US State Department, to see if there might be a more candid answer.

  The guest was supposed to be UN Peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous, who inside the UN refuses to answer Press questions. (Video here, UK coverage here.) But he was replaced, apparently at the last minute, by his deputy Edmond Mulet, once the head of the UN's mission in Haiti, MINUSTAH.

When Mulet and the US State Department's Victoria Holt were asked about cholera in Haiti, only Mulet answered. (Holt answered another question about zero tolerance for sexual abuse, but said nothing about the US-trained 391st Battalion of the Congolese Army being implicated in 135 rapes in Minova.)

Mulet essentially blamed the cholera death on Haiti itself, noting the "same strain" -- that would be, from Nepal, brought along with the peacekeepers from there by the UN -- spread to the Dominican Republic but didn't kill anyone.

  Mulet said it spread to Cuba too, but the government there was more organized. But no follow-up was allowed on the main point: it was the UN peacekeepers' negligent santitation practices that put their fecal material in the river and introduced cholera to Haiti. Have any improvements been made since?

  The venue was the Museum of Tolerance; the host was UNA-USA. The mood was how to make the UN attractive to Americans, or really, how to best present the UN to Americans. That's why Mulet's blame-the-Haitians line doesn't work: nearly anyone who hears what happens thinks the UN should apologize, and try to help the families of those killed. This song will continue to be developed. Watch this site.


 

Share |

* * *

These reports are usually also available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis.

Click here for Sept 26, 2011 New Yorker on Inner City Press at UN

Click for  BloggingHeads.tv re Libya, Sri Lanka, UN Corruption

Feedback: Editorial [at] innercitypress.com

UN Office: S-303, UN, NY 10017 USA

Reporter's mobile (and weekends): 718-716-3540

Google
  Search innercitypress.com  Search WWW (censored?)

Other, earlier Inner City Press are listed here, and some are available in the ProQuest service, and now on Lexis-Nexis.

            Copyright 2006-2013 Inner City Press, Inc. To request reprint or other permission, e-contact Editorial [at] innercitypress.com