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

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


(FP Twitterati 100, 2013)

ICP on YouTube
Sept 24, 2013

UN: Sri Lanka


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"




Bank Beat

Freedom of Information

How to Contact Us

UN Experts Cite Bahrain on Al-Khawaja, Ban Ignored Experts on Haiti Cholera

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, September 5 -- From the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva comes this press release: "A group of United Nations independent human rights experts has urged the government of Bahrain to release prominent human rights defender Maryam Al-Khawaja, who has been detained since 30 August on charges of assaulting a police officer. "

   On September 3, Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's spokesman Stephane Dujarric was asked about Maryam Al-Khawaja's detention and said he would see what he could get on that.  Since then, nothing from Ban Ki-moon or his Office.

   Inner City Press has repeatedly asked Ban's spokespeople about UN experts urging Ban's Secretariat and Herve Ladsous' UN Peacekeeping to be accountable and pay reparations for bringing cholera. The response has been that Ban doesn't need to respond to these "independent" experts.

   But, Inner City Press asked, how can the UN ask its member states to take requests by UN independent experts seriously if Ban's UN itself does not?

    In August a UN Special Rapporteur,  Catarina de Albuquerque on the Right to Water, urged investigation and compensation. She wrote:

"The United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti has come under scrutiny for its role in the cholera epidemic in Haiti in the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake. The epidemic killed over 8,500 people, sickened more than 700,000 and is still ongoing. It has been alleged that the cholera was brought in by peacekeepers and that it spread because of haphazardly constructed sanitation facilities that leaked sewage into a river that was an important source of drinking water. The United Nations has rejected the accusations and claimed immunity based on the Convention on the Privileges and Immunities of the United Nations, but United Nations human rights representatives are increasingly calling on the United Nations to establish responsibility. The Independent Expert on Haiti has stressed the need “to assure the Haitian people that the epidemic will be halted as soon as possible and that full reparation for damages will be provided”. He called for clarification of the facts and for realization of the right to a remedy, arguing that the “United Nations should be the first to honor these principles”and that “silence is the worst response”. The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights called for an investigation by the United Nations and the country concerned, and called for “those who suffered as a result of that cholera be provided with compensation”. The Special Rapporteur wishes to emphasize the obligation to investigate the allegations in order to establish responsibility for any violations and to ensure the alleged victims’ right to a remedy, including compensation, if warranted. She welcomes the commitment by the United Nations to eradicate the disease in Haiti and urges it to meet that commitment by providing adequate resources. She further calls on the United Nations to establish appropriate accountability mechanisms for ongoing and future missions as well as to review and reinforce measures for adequate sanitation and preventive measures."

A week after UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon ended his trip to Haiti and Santo Domingo after taking a single question about the UN bringing cholera to the island, the UN's independent expert Gustavo Gallon had this to say, in his statement, which Inner City Press putting online here:

As for cholera, the independent expert noted that the Secretary General of the United Nations visited the country and traveled on 14 July to the Central Plateau, where cholera first appeared. He launched a sanitation campaign there. I hope that this visit will contribute to the implementation of the recommendation I made in my report of March 2014 on the necessity of creating a reparations commission for the victims of cholera, in order to allow the evaluation of damages, corresponding compensation or idemnification, the identification of those responsible, the stopping of the epidemic and other measures. As Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in Haiti, I take this opportunity to reiterate this recommendation.”

 Back on July 16, Inner City Press asked Ban's deputy spokesperson Farhan Haq about Ban dodging questions on cholera, and about the court ruling that the state of Netherlands is liable for the deaths of 300 Bosniaks in Srebrenica. Video here and embedded below.

 Inner City Press asked Haq to comment, in the context of the more than 8000 deaths in Haiti, on this sentence: "there is a growing acceptance that an individual state can be held liable for deaths in a UN-mandated operation."

  Haq said, we are still studying it. But he has said nothing in the week since. And on July 23, based on Inner City Press' style of questioning or legal focus in questions, Haq said "You are not entitled to be at the noon briefing," video here.

  Later on July 16, Ban's office sent out what he said to the Dominican Congress: mentions of Junot Diaz and Robinson Cano, but nothing about the UN bringing cholera to Hispaniola.

   At the July 15 UN noon briefing Inner City Press asked Ban's deputy spokesperson to respond to protest signs in Haiti: "Dead: 8563, Sick 704,000; Justice 0."

  Haq said Ban assures Haitians of his personal commitment, wants to be the advocate of the Haitian people.

  Inner City Press asked, will the UN apologize? (Video here and embedded below.  Here's an Inner City Press song on topic.)

   Haq replied that Ban is "anguished" about the situation.

   But is that an apology?

  Haq said he had nothing to add. Where he gave the next question, he got back a softball which invited him to talk about money Ban's UN gave, or raied, or merely tried to raise.

  Each time Ban mentioned cholera, without once addressing who brought it to Hispanola. While an Inner City Press reader points out the troop contributing country, Nepal, the question is: wasn't the UN in charge of sanitation?

  Doesn't UN Peacekeeping under Herve Ladsous still refuse to screen peacekeepers before deployment from cholera hot-spots? Didn't the UN dissemble about the failure to take this safeguard?

 Ban ended his first speech saying "you can count on me and the UN to do our part." Really?

  After meeting a family impacted by (the UN's) cholera, Ban said "the whole international community, including the United Nations, has a moral duty to help those people to stem the further spread of cholera." Just "including" the UN. Just because.

  In what the UN called a "press encounter," without providing any Q&A, Ban said "Lastly, in addressing all socio-economic issues as well as cholera issues, let me also underline that this is not a time for donor fatigue."

  Is that it?

  A question is whether Ban while there be served with legal papers about the UN bringing cholera to Hispanola, another topic on which Ban's spokespeople dodged and worse.

  The Free UN Coalition for Access will have more on this.


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 re Libya, Sri Lanka, UN Corruption

Feedback: Editorial [at]

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

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

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

            Copyright 2006-2014 Inner City Press, Inc. To request reprint or other permission, e-contact Editorial [at]