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As Uruguay Apologizes to Haiti UN Won't, Denies Pollution, Cholera, Sex Abuse

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, September 7 -- Even as Uruguay apologized for abuse in Haiti, the UN remained in denial on September 7, not only despite video of abuse, but also photos of dumping of garbage and sewage.

  On September 6 Inner City Press had asked the UN about sexual abuse in Haiti, to which the UN corrected its response on September 7, as well as post-hoc adding a correction of its statement it is still investigating if it spread cholera to Haiti.

  From the UN's September 7 noon briefing transcript:

UN Deputy Spokesman Eduardo del Buey: On the allegations of waste disposal, the Mission issued a press release in this regard on 25 of August. The Mission has denied that it has disposed of waste in Hinche or elsewhere in the country. MINUSTAH says that the Hinche camp is equipped with a waste-management site; waste is not transported out of the camp. Furthermore, the Mission is planning to undertake reviews of military installations to ensure that waste-management practices are in order.

But there are photos of the dumping, on the Internet: click here.

  Inner City Press then asked del Buey about cholera:

Inner City Press: I wanted to ask you something on, on Haiti. I guess first is that there is an editorial in today’s New York Times about cholera in Haiti, which says, you know, that, that this was apparently caused by sewage from UN peacekeepers. And I just wonder, what is now the UN’s position on how the cholera in Haiti occurred?

Deputy Spokesperson del Buey: Well, we are in the process of investigating and when we have a response we will get back to you on it.

Ladsous, response to Haiti abuse, even presence in NY, still not shown

  Then, without having called or e-mailed Inner City Press with any supplemental answer, del Buey's or ostensibly Martin Nesirky's office added into the transcript of the briefing an expansion:

[The Deputy Spokesperson later noted that an Independent Panel of Experts to investigate the source of the cholera outbreak in Haiti had been established in January and that the Panel submitted its report to the Secretary-General in May. Following the submission of the report, the Secretary-General convened a task force within the UN system which is studying the findings and recommendations made by the Independent Panel of Experts to ensure prompt and appropriate follow-up. The Deputy Spokesperson also noted that the Panel concluded that the Haiti cholera outbreak was caused “by the confluence of circumstances and was not the fault of, or deliberate action of, a group or individual person”. He also said the Secretary-General had expressed the continuing commitment of the United Nations to stand shoulder to shoulder with the Government and people of Haiti in the ongoing fight against the cholera epidemic, which caused significant loss of life.]

Not having heard this spin, at least on Wednesday, Inner City Press asked del Buey why the UN hasn't apologized:

Inner City Press: the Uruguayans, at very high levels, have actually now offered their apologies to Haiti for the incident, whether it’s the incident of sexual abuse, whether it is called rape of otherwise, and I wondered, is that something that the UN either joins them in? Do you see that as a positive step? What’s the UN’s current position as to that incident, filmed incident?

Deputy Spokesperson del Buey: Well, we see the Uruguayan response as being extremely positive and responsible as a troop-contributing country, and we welcome their participation, active as it has been in the investigation, and their commitment to see the investigation through to fruition.

The video is already out, of at least the threat of rape. At a troop contributors' meeting in Montevideo, Brazil is moving to pull out of Haiti, as others will. Who will be left? And how much will this UN's stonewalling have hurt them? Watch this site.

Footnote: the new head of DPKO, Herve Ladsous, the ostensible supervisor of MINUSTAH, has yet to appear in UN headquarters. Inner City Press has learned how he was selected: watch this site.

Click for July 7, 11 re Sudan, Libya, Syria, flotilla

Click for Mar 1, '11 re Libya, Sri Lanka, UN Corruption

* * *

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

Click here for a Reuters AlertNet piece by this correspondent about Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army. Click here for an earlier Reuters AlertNet piece about the Somali National Reconciliation Congress, and the UN's $200,000 contribution from an undefined trust fund.  Video Analysis here

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