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On CAR Crisis, MSF Raises Alarm, On Haiti Cholera More Quiet

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, July 24 -- In the Central African Republic, the planned UN mission MINUSCA is not slated to take over until September 15.

  Until then, when Inner City Press has asked questions about killings and disappearances by the current MISCA force, the UN has either refused to answer, or has said, “Ask MISCA.”

  But for the most part, MISCA will be “re-hatted” as the UN mission on September 15.  On July 24, Inner City Press asked a panel from Medecins Sans Frontieres about MISCA's performance in CAR.

  Sylvain Groulx, MSF's Head of Mission in CAR, said it is clear from the level of killing that not enough peacekeeping is being done. 

   In response to Inner City Press' question about MSF's "Where Is Everyone" report, Groulx described MSF running the water system in Bangui and the successor aid group being very slow in taking over responsibility for it. Funding for humanitarian emergencies is down, he said.

 When Inner City Press asked about the Moroccan guard unit approved by the UN Security Council, the MSF position of not requesting armed protection for aid workers, only for civilians, came out.

  Inner City Press also asked for MSF's view on cholera in Haiti of the UN's role. There was a lot of silence, followed by the statement that as a medical organization MSF is concerned with treating those with cholera, not with how it got to the island. This is one of the (many) reasons that the UN is able to remain UNaccountable. We'll have more on this.

   On July 22 Inner City Press asked Mia Farrow, back from her recent trip to the Central African Republic as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, about the “UN” mission MINUSCA being mostly MISCA, re-hatted.

  "If that's what it morphs into," Mia Farrow said, "that would be like Darfur, [UNAMID]... it's never going to be the answer."

  Recently in Darfur, the UNAMID mission has been exposed for withholding information about the level of killing. MISCA / MINUSCA seems already headed down that road.

  Inner City Press also asked Mia Farrow if during her time in CAR, her fourth trip to the country, she had seen any visible work there by the UN Peacekeeping Commission “configuration,” in the UN jargon. No, she said. And that too is telling.

  Mia Farrow was asked an open ended question about what she would like the Security Council to do for CAR and other countries.

  She said she'd prefer to keep her July 22 briefing focused on the too-often ignored and forgotten Central African Republic, but that UN improvements are needed. We agree - that is what the new Free UN Coalition for Access is working for. Watch that site, and this.


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