Wednesday, June 28, 2017

UN Peacekeeping Budget To Be Cut $600 M, Haley Confirms After ICP Reports, DPI Deserves It


By Matthew Russell Lee, UNSC group photo here

UNITED NATIONS, June 28 -- While US Ambassador Nikki Haley was taking questions on the topic down in Washington, a UN budget committee expert on June 28 approached Inner City Press with news. The UN Peacekeeping budget is being cut by $600 million, starting with major cuts to the UNAMID mission in Darfur set for a vote in the UN Security Council on June 29. More than five hours after Inner City Press published the news, Haley confirmed it: "We have an obligation to the American people to show value in the use of their taxpayer dollars. Just five months into our time here, we’ve already been able to cut over half a billion dollars from the UN peacekeeping budget and we’re only getting started." The DR Congo mission MONUSCO is next. What of the smaller but calling out for cuts UN Department of Public Information, which has used its resources to engage in censorship of the investigative Press, including on June 28 requiring a minder for Inner City Press to cover a General Assembly meeting? What about WIPO and its retaliation? Inner City Press asked the UN Spokesman; watch this site. Back on May 15 with the mandate of the UN mission in Abyei set to expire, the US as penholder proposed cutting a part of the mission that has not been functions, the support of the Joint Border Verification and Monitoring Mechanism (JBVMM). But Ethiopia, the lone troop contributor to the mission, and others pushed back. On the evening on May 15 a revised draft was approved - Inner City Press put it online here - which extended the mandate, while setting condition(s), something of a six-month deadline. But that could, of course, change. See here. Back on May 12 while the Council met behind closed door, Inner City Press the lone media at the stakeout - also the only one evicted and still restricted by the UN - broadcast, here. Afterward a Sudanese diplomat emerged and told Inner City Press of a possible compromised; he waved off the UNTV boom mic, a new entrant through an opaque process. Finally Uruguay's Elbio Rosselli, president of the Council, emerged and said negotiations continued. Inner City Press asked him if instead of cuts there might be "benchmarks;" there seemed to be recognition. Video here.  Then at the May 12 noon briefing Inner City Press asked the UN's holdover spokesman Stephane Dujarric, UN transcript here: Inner City Press:  I wanted to ask you, the Council had been set today to vote on UNISFA (United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei) and now it’s… the negotiation seems like there is a disagreement with the Secretary-General's report on support provided by the mission to the Joint Border Verification and Monitoring Mechanism.  So, some people are saying that it's a totally non-func… it doesn't work.  No work is being done.  And so that the 500 troops are essentially a waste.  I wanted to know, other than just say it should continue to be paid for, can you articulate from this podium or sometime during this what is the rationale for continuing, without changes, the support?

Spokesman:  I think the mission provides critical work in an area that has been a flashpoint of conflict in the past.  Obviously, the mission, as every other peacekeeping mission, operates under the mandate of the Security Council.  And we’ll obviously wait to see what Security Council members have to say and what the resolution looks like and will implement the resolution, as directed by the Security Council.

Inner City Press:  Right.  The question is not about the mission as a whole, it's specifically about this JBVMM (Joint Border Verification and Monitoring Mechanism).  Is it the Secretary-General's position that this thing is actually functional, that there is something to be supported?

Spokesman:  The Secretary-General's position has been articulated through his reports to the Council and briefings.  As it's under very close discussion by Council members now, I'm not going to add to what I've already said. 
  That's not much of a defense of this spending, or failure. But will the showdown be avoided and the money continue flowing unchanged? Watch this site. After the UN Security Council had closed door consultations on Guinea Bissau and Lebanon on May 11, the office of UN Spokesperson Stephane Dujarric announced that Council president Elbio Rosselli would speak at the UNTV stakeout. But other than Inner City Press, which Dujarric evicted and still restricts, no other media came. Still Rosselli to his credit agreed to do Q&A. Inner City Press asked him if the withdrawal from Guinea Bissau of ECOMIS was discussed - it was - and for how long Jeffrey Feltman will fill in on Resolution 1559 on Lebanon (it's unclear). Then Inner City Press asked Rosselli of something he'd said two days before, that there might be more than a Press Statement on North Korea's most recent missile launch. Rosselli replied that work continues, then he left. Still, he took questions and responded to them - better than many in the UN Secretariat. On May 9 after members of the UN Security Council met with Kofi Annan and fellow Elders Lakhdar Brahimi, Gro Harlem Brundtland and Mary Robinson on May 9, Inner City Press asked the Council's President for May Elbio Rosselli of Uruguay if Myanmar, on which Annan and The Elders have worked, came up. No, he said, the focus had been on impasses in the Council on Syria, South Sudan, the conflicts springing from climate change. The latter topic he said had been raised by Annan and Robinson, in the closed door meeting at the International Peace Institute across from the UN (Uruguay's mission arranged for an elevator foyer stakeout, which was appreciated.) Earlier on May 9 Inner City Press asked Gro Harlem Brundtland and Lakhdar Brahimi about the Rohingya and whether Aung San Suu Kyi was or is on the path to becoming an Elder. Gro Harlem Brundtland said Suu Kyi was a form of Elder while imprisoned, but cannot be while involved in politics. And after she retires? If the Rohingya are still treated this way? Brahimi cited Annon's report forthcoming in October.We'll see. Back on May 1 when he took on the Presidency of the UN Security Council for the month, Ambassador Rosselli on May 1 took questions from the media about the month's Program of Work. Inner City Press asked him about new envoys for Burundi (Michel Kafando) and Western Sahara (Horst Kohler, apparently Inner City Press' 227thquestion on Western Sahara according to Morocco's count), and about the May 30 meeting on Yemen. Video here. Rosselli said the envoys are up to the Secretary General and spoke about Morocco's ouster, now reversed, of the MINURSO mission. On Yemen he said the meeting is at the end of the month because it is hard to move these around, it's like Tetris. On behalf of the Free UN Coalition for Access Inner City Press asked Rosselli after the month's eight closed door consultations to hold on-camera stakeouts on UNTV. We note that Frente Polisario's April 28 stakeout, unlike that of Morocco's Omar Hilale, is still as of this writing on May 1 not on the UNTV website. We'll have more on this.
  Back at the beginning of March, then-incoming UNSC President Matthew Rycroft of the UK answered Inner City Press on Burundi by referring to France as the penholder. On Yemen -- on which the UK holds the pen -- he said sometimes there is a benefit to a closed door discussion. Fine: but what's the problem with an open briefing, then closed consultations? The Free UN Coalition for Access will continue to pursue this.
  On Yemen Inner City Press also asked if the UK's findings as it looks into more than 250 incidents of the Saudi led coalition will be shared with the Security Council. It remains unclear.

 At the end, Inner City Press asked Rycroft if Nick Kay is still a candidate to be UN Envoy to Libya. Rycroft said the UK supports current envoy Martin Kobler but if he is to be changed, it should be fast, there is momentum.

  Rycroft said that civil society will be invited to participate in the month's wrap up session, a first. Boris Johnson will chair the March 23 meeting on South Sudan, and something on Somalia later that day. We'll have more on this.

Monday, June 26, 2017

As SG Guterres Heads to DC Amid UN Bribery Case & Haiti Complaints, Kuwait Dinner UNdisclosed


By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, June 26 – The day after the UN bribery case against Macau-based businessman Ng Lap Seng began, and following a UN Security Council visit to Haiti in which victims of the UN's cholera criticized the failure to follow though on individual reparations, Secretary General Antonio Guterres heads to Washington on June 27. But UNlike the US, the UN does not disclose the dinner for Guterres hosted by Kuwaiti Ambassador to the US Salem Abdullah Al-Jaber Al-Sabah. Instead, the UN states: " The Secretary-General will travel to Washington, D.C. on Tuesday, 27 June. This visit is part of the Secretary-General's ongoing outreach to Washington and other capitals. He is expected to meet with Democratic and Republican leaders, as well as with members of the foreign affairs and appropriations committees of both the House and the Senate. He will also be meeting with senior members of the President's cabinet." Tillerson will be at the Kuwaiti dinner. Who else? And given the composition of Guterres' previous US Congressional meetings (click here for Inner City Press coverage), who will he be meeting with? This should be disclosed. When Guterres held a press conference on June 20, Inner City Press about the UN having brought cholera to Haiti under his predecessor Ban Ki-moon but now reneging even on what Ban belatedly proposed for individual reparations. Inner City Press mentioned upcoming protests in Haiti that it will be covering from there, June 22 and 23. Guterres announced that he was just then - minutes later the announcement went out - naming as a new special envoy on Haiti Josette Sheeran, formerly the director of the UN World Food Program and now the head of the Asia Society. Video here. Transcript here and below. He seemed to say the UN was never going to compensate individuals or families impacted by the cholera the UN brought. On June 21 Inner City Press asked Guterres' deputy spokesman Farhan Haq to clarify. UN Video here, from Minute 16:21. From the UNtranscript: Inner City Press: this was something that the Secretary-General said on the record when I asked him about the seeming change in the cholera in Haiti plan.  And he said that that policy was announced by his predecessor and had two dimensions; one is fighting cholera, and the other is the possibility to support communities impacted.  It was devised not as individual support.  And just, since then, I went back and actually looked at the November A/71/620 document, and there’s a whole section on individual support.  It was called track 2B.  So I just wanted to--

Deputy Spokesman:  And I was here at the time.  And I remember the discussions that the former Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, had about this.  And, at that point, it was not determined whether it would be individual or community-based.  Even at that point, I believe the discussion was towards community-based.  So that’s something that’s… a process that’s been crafted.

Inner City Press:  I wish I’d had that document in front of me when he answered, because there are many people that are in Haiti that have seen the new announcement made by Amina Mohammed as a retrenchment, as a taking back of that before even consulting people.  Mario Joseph and others have put out a press release; they’re protesting on Thursday.  So I wanted to just get your quote before that protest, that at one time the idea of individual reparations to people harmed by cholera was in a UN document as being considered and it’s now not being considered at all?

Deputy Spokesman:  I wouldn’t say that it’s not being considered at all.  And I wouldn’t say that initially it was something that was devised as the primary idea.  This is something that’s been under consideration.  It remains under consideration, but the primary focus, for reasons that were described at the end of last year and again at the start of this year, have been community-based.  And if you look at what Ban Ki-moon said in December, again, it mentions the community-based approach.
  But the UN document in November 2016 has a Track 2B, individual. Here's the beginning of the press release for the protests: "Port-au-Prince: Haitian cholera victims and their advocates called on the UN Security Council to deliver on the promise of a new, victim-centered approach to cholera during its visit to Haiti this week, by meeting directly with victims and committing to funding the $400 million initiative before MINUSTAH --the peacekeeping mission that caused the cholera epidemic—pulls out in October. 'The UN’s apology and promises were promising in December,' said Mario Joseph, Managing Attorney of the Bureau des Avocats Internationaux (BAI) that has led the fight for justice for cholera victims. 'But seven months later, with only a pittance raised for the so-called "New Approach" and not a single promised consultation with the cholera victims, they look like empty public relations gestures. It is time for the UN to deliver.' The 15-member Security Council is in Haiti from June 22-24 to finalize the transition from MINUSTAH to a new mission focused on supporting justice that will be known as MINUJUSTH. The BAI announced two protests during the visit: one at the UN logistics base in Haiti on Thursday at 11 am, and a second one in Champs de Mars on Friday at 11." We'll have more on this: Inner City Press will be accompanying and covering, in as much detail as possible, the UN Security Council's visit to Haiti from June 22 to 24. Watch this site.
Footnote: on behalf of the Free UN Coalition for Access, to which Guterres' spokesman Stephane Dujarric does NOT "lend" the briefing room and which has never and will never ask for a journalist to be thrown out or restricted, Inner City Press urged Guterres to more routinely take questions, for example on his way in and out of the Security Council. We'll see.
From the UN's transcript: 

Inner City Press: Matthew Lee, Inner City Press. On behalf of the Free UN Coalition for Access, thanks for the briefing. Glad to have it. Stakeouts would also be useful when you speak to the Council.  But I wanted to ask you about cholera in Haiti. As you may know, while you were away, your deputy gave... gave the speech, and many people in Haiti interpreted it as a... as a pulling back from the idea of compensating victims of the cholera that was brought. Maybe they misunderstand it, but they put out a press release. There's a protest planned there on Thursday during the Council's visit.  So I wanted to ask you, I know that Member States haven't come forward with what they might have, but are you going to put more time in? Do you think that the idea of actually compensating the people whose family members were killed by cholera is still alive?

Secretary-General:  First of all, in relation to Haiti, the policy that was announced by my predecessor had two dimensions. One is fighting cholera, and the other is the possibility to support, namely, to support communities impacted. It was devised, not as individual support, but community support for the communities impacted.  As you mentioned, there has been little voluntary funding for these projects. So we have presented a proposal for the amounts that were not spent in the previous mission in Haiti and that should be given back to countries, for countries to be ready to accept not to receive those amounts back in order to be able to fund the cholera programme.  And, at the same time, we have just appointed Ms. Josette Sheeran as my Special Envoy for Haiti, centred, of course, in the fundraising for cholera. She was, as you know, the World Food Programme leader a few years ago. She is now President of the Asia Society, and she accepted, with a salary of $1 per year, she accepted to be fully engaged in fundraising for a programme that, indeed, until now, has received very little support but that is very important from the point of view of the people and from the point of view of the credibility of the UN.  

In 1st UN Bribery Case, Jury Selection As UN Refused to Cooperate in Prosecuting Ng Lap Seng


By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, June 26 – In the UN bribery case against Macau-based businessman Ng Lap Seng, for which jury selection began on June 26 (Periscope here), a filing now reveals that the UN refused to provide information to the US Government for its prosecution, contrary to the UN's repeated statements to Inner City Press that the UN was cooperating. The US Attorney's June 25 letter states, in footnote 1, that "the UN declined to identify to the Government all individuals who were interviewed in connection with the preparation of the Report." This Report is the UN Task Force Report, which Ng is trying to use to show that the UN had so few rules that his payments, including through South South News, weren't bribes but contributions. But the UN must now answer for its refusal to cooperate in the prosecution of bribery within the UN. On June 26, prospective jurors were summoned one by one up to speak to the judge, alongside Ng Lap Seng's lawyers and the prosecution. (White noise was turned on so they would not be overheard). Ng Lap Seng himself sat at the defense table, as he had sat at the UN Correspondents Association fundraiser where he bought access to Ban Ki-moon. In the courtroom on June 26, Inner City Press was spoken to by claimed Ng relatives, saying that Ng did nothing that others don't also do in the UN, pay money for access. That's true. During a break, US Marshals accompanied Ng up to the fifth floor bathroom. In the vending machines, 12 ounce sodas sold for a dollar. On the first floor, an ostensibly recycling garbage can had metal, plastic and garbage all going into the same bag, similar to the UN's fraud, now being exposed. Watch this site. Former South South News chief and diplomat Francis Lorenzo has been described in a Superseding Information as an "agent" of the UN, making it more difficult for the UN to dodge, despite it attempts to hinder Press coverage of the connections. Now in the run up to the trial, the judge has ruled on "evidence or argument concerning payments
made to the Antiguan Ambassador by those other than by Defendant Ng and/or the
media company." The media company is South South News - and in a new low, one of its main UN representatives has in June 2017 reappeared HIRED in the UN, at the UN Security Council no less. The UN is entirely corrupt. Meanwhile defendant Ng Lap Seng is trying to keep out of the upcoming trial his financial involvement with relatives of Jesse Jackson Jr (which again calls into question how the UN Department of Public Information didn't do even Google "due diligence," then evicted and restricts Inner City Press which asked DPI). Ng's filing quotes the government that "Mr. Ng made a loan to a UNOSSC employee who sought funding from Mr. Ng in order to pursue graduate studies." What has the UN done about any of this, beyond evicting and restricting the Press which is covering the story? On May 3, Inner City Press asked UN holdover spokesman Stephane Dujarric, who not only didn't answer but also rebuffed a question about the UN in the DR Congo, UN transcript here: Inner City Press: John Ashe case and DRC [Democratic Republic of the Congo[.  There are two new filings in the John Ashe case, and I wanted to ask you about, in particular, one of them is a superseding indictment of Francis Lorenzo, and it describes him in paragraph 3 as an agent of an organization, to wit, the UN did corruptly solicit and demand, etcetera.  But I guess what I’m wondering is, now, if the US Attorney is describing Mr. Francis Lorenzo as an agent of the UN, does this change the way the UN is looking at the case?

Spokesman:  We’re looking at the case.  I’m not aware that Mr. Lorenzo is an agent of the UN.  But, again, we’re looking at the case.  And, when we have something more to say, we’ll let you know.

Inner City Press: And another filing at the same time says that… that Ng Lap Seng provided money to and educational loans to a staff member of the Office of South-South Cooperation.  That’s not something I ever saw…

Spokesman:  Okay.  I… I… we have… obviously, we’re following the case.  I don’t have anything to say while the proceedings are ongoing.  Thank you.  I’m going to get Mr. Takasu.
  Lorenzo has now expanded his guilty plea to admit paying bribes to now deceased President of the UN General Assembly John Ashe, and soliciting bribes from Ng. Lorenzo will testify against Ng, whose motion to dismiss the case has been denied. But the UN is still in denial. On April 28 Inner City Press asked the UN's holdover spokesman Stephane Dujarric, UN transcript here: Inner City Press: Francis Lorenzo, the former head of South-South News and former Deputy Permanent Representative of the Dominican Republic to the UN has expanded his guilty plea to a clear and clean admission of having bribed former PGA [President of the General Assembly], may he rest in peace, John Ashe, and he's going to testify against Ng Lap Seng.  It gives rise… this now seems to be previously just tax charges.  Now he's saying, on the record… taking responsibility, saying he knew it was wrong at the time that he did it.  So, my question is:  As the case… as the case gets more pointedly in terms of what took place inside the United Nations walls… and yesterday I saw the former DGACM [Department of General Assembly and Conference Management] individual, now retired, who I believe… it seems from the audit is the one that changed the document.  What is the ramification?  Was anything ever done for that changed document, and what is exactly OLA [Office of Legal Affairs] doing now that there's admission not just of tax charges or evasion, of bribery…?

Spokesman:  First of all, the alleged bribery you're referring to does not involve a staff member of the UN.  There were audits done, and the situation was looked at very carefully in the past two years, if my memory is correct.  We continue, obviously, to follow the developments in the case, and if we need to act upon anything that is revealed by the time the case is done, we shall do so.
Inner City Press:  But, I guess the goal of the bribery was to obtain a UN document saying that Macau Conference Center was needed, and that document was obtained from DGACM.  So, are you saying that somehow the actual… the ultimate act that they wanted was done without any…?

Spokesman:  That's not what I'm saying.

Inner City Press: But, what was done?  I saw the guy walking around.  Was there any repercussion of any individual named in the audit?

Spokesman:  As I said, as more information comes to light, we'll act upon it.
  Right. The corruption into which the UN sank during the tenure of Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, whose head of the Department of Public Information Cristina Gallach did no due diligence as Ng bought illegal events in the UN and even the UN's slavery memorial, and DPI's censorship of and threats against the Press which reports on the Ng and South South News case has yet to be addressed or even stopped. This has been raised to the top of the Secretariat. Ng's associate Jeff Yin has also pleaded guilty to working to violate UN tax laws with South South News. The UN Department of Public Information evicted and still restricts Inner City Press for seeking to cover UN links to South South News; this month DPI has refused to explain the basis. On April 12 when Inner City Press about the UN's holdover spokesman Stephane Dujarric about the guilty plea, he said SSN is "no longer" at the UN, as if that resolved it. It doesn't, and that has been raised. Video here; from the UN transcript: Inner City Press: question about this Ng Lap Seng, previously John Ashe, case.  There’s been now a guilty plea by John Ashe’s lone remaining co-defendant, Jeffrey Yin.  And in his guilty plea, he states that South-South News intentionally paid him in cash in order to evade US tax laws.  That’s what he’s pled guilty to. Given the supposed inquiry by the UN, what’s the response?  It’s not a matter of waiting until the end of the case.  This is a…

Spokesman:  My understanding is South-South News is no longer accredited as a news organization to the UN.
  Under Dujarric, South South News content was included in UN TV webcast and archives; Dujarric threw Inner City Press out of the UN Press Briefing Room for seeking to cover South South News payees in the UN, and worked on the UN misleading memo to the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Paragraph 9 and 10, here.
  Ng is set for trial, but now an adjournment has been granted to May. The letter motion by Ng Lap Seng's lawyers cites a need to review "many thousands of pages of banking records, emails and other documents related to Jeff Yin, Mr.
Ng, Vivian Wang, SKI, and SSN, among others. We are still awaiting production of voluminous
documents, including information contained in DVDs and CDs seized from Vivian Wang’s
residence, tax information for a number of alleged co-conspirators, South South News
documents, phone records, and additional Ashe emails." So is the UN even checking out these new records, to reform itself? It seems not. On April 7 Inner City Press asked UN Spokesman Stephane Dujarric, UN transcript here

***

Sunday, June 25, 2017

In Haiti, UN Sweats How To Phrase Evasion on Cholera It Brought, Its Victims UNheard


By Matthew Russell Lee, Video

NEW YORK, June 25 – What has been the United Nations' impact on Haiti? There will be longer answers to that questions - watch this site - but for now a vignette. After two days of speed meetings with the President, parliamentarians, police trainers, proud peacekeepers from India and Brazil, some civil society reps followed by businessmen with flash drives, a UN bus raced over ragged streets on June 24. 

Inside, European staffers of the UN's MINUSTAH mission fretted about the addition of a vague paragraph about the cholera the UN brought in a statement soon to read out at the MINUSTAH Logistics Base. Outside the bus, Haitians pushing heavy cartloads of fruit, riding in in backs of pickup trucks pushed ot the side by the UN convoy, stared out, some in anger. 

The Press, along for the ride, heard the day before from residents of Cite Soleil who lost relatives to the cholera the UN brought, with criminally negligent inattention to sanitation for troops brought in from a cholera hot-spot in Nepal, who got cholera themselves. “The UN has to pay for this,” one said. “What good would a community plaza be fore me?”

 But it is community projects that new UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres is offering, as he told Inner City Press back in UN headquarters. The Security Council delegation that visited Haiti June 22-24 repeated over and over they support the Secretary General's “new” approach. But what is new about it? We'll have more on this.  

When the UN Security Council visited Haiti's Presidential Palace on Thursday, they heard about the cholera the UN brought, specifically that the $40 million remaining in the MINUSTAH mission's budget should remain behind. On Saturday morning, the Security Council's president for June Sasha Sergia Llorentty Soliz held a press conference at the MINUSTAH mission's "Log-Base." Periscope video here.Inner City Press asked him about the UN cholera victims it has spoken with the day before, who said that the UN must pay individual reparations, not community project that are of no use to them. He said that messages had been heard. We will follow up on this in New York - and in Haiti on the intimidation and under-payment of judges. The Security Council got a briefing from India's Assam Rifles, complete with a slide about the unit's history in Sri Lanka. (More on that to follow). Outside, rifles and riot suppression equipment was displayed. A short bus ride led to the Brazilian camp, fruit juices and what felt like the wrap up of the visit. Should UN peacekeeping contingents buy more of what they use from the countries they deploy to? More on this to follow, too. Back on Friday when the Security Council met at the country's Cour de Cassation, invitee Massillon told them and then the Press that some judges in Haiti can't even afford any law books, work surrounded by garbage and are subject to intimidation and corruption. Another invitee told Inner City Press that while Massillon "said what had to be said," he had offended UN Envoy Sandra Honore with his criticism of MINUSTAH's performance. Who will head MINUJUSTH? (In a bad joke, some call it Mini-Jupe or mini-skirt, as some in the Congo have ajudge MONUSCO to be MONUSELESS.) We are putting Massillon's and a colleague's later audio up on sound-cloud; Inner City Press asked again about Haitian judges' paltry salaries. Earlier on Friday there was a protest while the Security Council met with the "private sector." A bus full of UN cholera victims was pressured to leave - but then returned, along with advocate Mario Joseph, and spoke with the Press. Long Periscope with Mario Joseph near the end here; second Periscope turned into YouTube here. Uniformly, the call was for individual reparations. Of a 57 year old victim who can now barely walk it was asked, what good would a community plaza do for him? But that is what the UN, when Inner City Press last asked, is offering. Done with the private sector, the Security Council drove a short way to the Cour de Cassation. The UN stands for justice? Cholera was less pointedly raised after the meeting with President Moise by his acting (for a day?) foreign minister, and was the subject of the sole questioner allowed. Video hereFriday when after a closed door meeting with Parliamentarians - the Army came up, wit the US - the Security Council had lunch with invited civil society members, there was a place set for cholera advocate Mario Joseph, next to Camille Chalmers. At first he wasn't there, and those who'd specifically invited him wondered why. Then he rolled in. But the Press was already told to wait outside, under a beautiful red flowering tree, and wait for the "private sector" to arrive. Earlier on Friday, the Security Council drove uphill to the Parc de Martissant and each placed a white rose at the earthquake memorial. FOKAL President Ms Duvivier brought up the UN's cholera and how little money the UN has raised; the artist Ms. Monnin explained her hanging heads of concrete and metal, with shattered mirrors on top. It spoke for itself. A small drone buzzed overhead. At the Council's next meeting, the Press was not even left in for five minutes. Earlier the delegation was escorted (run-up Periscope here) to the Haitian National Police School, where just as a meeting including the Prime Minister began, the Press was ushered out. For now, tweeted photo here. In the School courtyard, roosters could be heard crowing, and cadets singing during training. "Vous est journaliste?" a man asked, hand on his sidearm. Oui, je suis journaliste. Nothing yet on cholera, except finally some talk of new UN (part-time) envoy Josette Sheeran and her past. We'll have more on this.  On this too: in the MINUSTAH mission the talk is of re-applying for posts in the new, smaller MINUJUSTH replacement set to start October 16, 2017. The UN's presence become routinized. There is a former star of the UN Budget Committee, now working on political affairs; there's Security from other Security Council trips - one in which a UN Security officer fired a bullet inside the UN plane, leaving Ambassadors and the press on a bus ride from Goma to Kigali in Rwanda. There are long-time UN communications people and ex-pat journalists. There is a dismissive or perhaps fatalistic view of those Haitians protesting the UN's presence and impact. Then there are Haitians striving, setting up small businesses in nooks and crannies by the side of the road, while French business people fly in for contracts, assisted by their country's ambassador Elisabeth Beton, who spoke June 22 on TV Metropole about Bollore, Total and Suez. What is the UN's role in this? After the June 22 meeting, Haiti's acting foreign minister spoke on cholera, that the $40 million unspent by MINUSTAH should remain in-country. But will it? In the UN Budget Committee there's talk against it, as a bad precedent. Wasn't bringing cholera, and then denying it for six years, a worse precedent? Sui generis. Earlier on Thursday morning, the country's booming voiced Ambassador to the UN was at the airport to greet the Council members. Protests, too, awaited - although MINUSTAH staff, and a Haiti-based European journalist, mocked the protest as small.  In the minibus that took the Council members up into the hills to the Royal Oasis Hotel, the talk was of the wind-down of the MINUSTAH mission, begun after the ouster of President Aristide in 2004, of access for interpreters but barely - five minutes at each meeting? - for the press. a meeting was held with the UN Country Team.  The Press was ushered about amid generic statistics from the Deputy SRSG. Civil society, however, has been chiming in with the Press. When UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres held a press conference on June 20, Inner City Press about the UN having brought cholera to Haiti under his predecessor Ban Ki-moon but now reneging even on what Ban belatedly proposed for individual reparations. Inner City Press mentioned upcoming protests in Haiti that it will be covering from there, June 22 and 23, accompanying the UN Security Council mission which took off from JFK airport early on June 22. Photo here, Periscope video here.Guterres announced that he was just then - minutes later the announcement went out - naming as a new special envoy on Haiti Josette Sheeran, formerly the director of the UN World Food Program and now the head of the Asia Society. Video here. Transcript here. He seemed to say the UN was never going to compensate individuals or families impacted by the cholera the UN brought. And the demands are for more than that: here's a sample list, in advance of the protest(s): "1. Close the MINUSTAH acknowledging its failure
2. Cancel the MINUJUSTH articulated following the ques Chapter 7 is a contradiction with the mandate defined
3. re-articulate globally the concept of relations between the UN and Haiti and especially among Latin American countries and Haiti. Recalling the generous internationalist commitment of the founders of our country and concrete, substantial and decisive solidarity offered to Miranda and Simon Bolivar
4. Launch a process of compensation, justice and reparation contemplating the numerous victims and destruction caused by this military occupation of 13 years.
5. Compensate victims of rape, men, women and children were raped or processes used in sexual exploitation
6. Support the thousands of women who have babies and children / children without parents because soldiers and police of MINUSTAH left without parents assume their responsibilities without leaving their addresses
7. compensate the families of citizens / citizens killed by the introduction of cholera by Nepalese MINUSTAH troops. We're talking about at least 20,000 bodies (the official figure underestimated speaks of nearly 10,000 dead)
8. Compensate survivors were infected by cholera by but did not die but their lives were severely affected (we're talking about more than 800,000 people)
9. To compensate the country for the huge economic losses caused by the presence of cholera during these long 7 years.
10. Invest to universalize access to drinking water for the entire population
11. To strengthen the system of public health and sanitation." On June 21 Inner City Press asked Guterres' deputy spokesman Farhan Haq to clarify. 
UN Video here, from Minute 16:21. From the UN transcript: Inner City Press: this was something that the Secretary-General said on the record when I asked him about the seeming change in the cholera in Haiti plan.  And he said that that policy was announced by his predecessor and had two dimensions; one is fighting cholera, and the other is the possibility to support communities impacted.  It was devised not as individual support.  And just, since then, I went back and actually looked at the November A/71/620 document, and there’s a whole section on individual support.  It was called track 2B.  So I just wanted to--

Deputy Spokesman:  And I was here at the time.  And I remember the discussions that the former Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, had about this.  And, at that point, it was not determined whether it would be individual or community-based.  Even at that point, I believe the discussion was towards community-based.  So that’s something that’s… a process that’s been crafted.

Inner City Press:  I wish I’d had that document in front of me when he answered, because there are many people that are in Haiti that have seen the new announcement made by Amina Mohammed as a retrenchment, as a taking back of that before even consulting people.  Mario Joseph and others have put out a press release; they’re protesting on Thursday.  So I wanted to just get your quote before that protest, that at one time the idea of individual reparations to people harmed by cholera was in a UN document as being considered and it’s now not being considered at all?

Deputy Spokesman:  I wouldn’t say that it’s not being considered at all.  And I wouldn’t say that initially it was something that was devised as the primary idea.  This is something that’s been under consideration.  It remains under consideration, but the primary focus, for reasons that were described at the end of last year and again at the start of this year, have been community-based.  And if you look at what Ban Ki-moon said in December, again, it mentions the community-based approach.
  But the UN document in November 2016 has a Track 2B, individual. Here's the beginning of the press release for the protests: "Port-au-Prince: Haitian cholera victims and their advocates called on the UN Security Council to deliver on the promise of a new, victim-centered approach to cholera during its visit to Haiti this week, by meeting directly with victims and committing to funding the $400 million initiative before MINUSTAH --the peacekeeping mission that caused the cholera epidemic—pulls out in October. 'The UN’s apology and promises were promising in December,' said Mario Joseph, Managing Attorney of the Bureau des Avocats Internationaux (BAI) that has led the fight for justice for cholera victims. 'But seven months later, with only a pittance raised for the so-called "New Approach" and not a single promised consultation with the cholera victims, they look like empty public relations gestures. It is time for the UN to deliver.' The 15-member Security Council is in Haiti from June 22-24 to finalize the transition from MINUSTAH to a new mission focused on supporting justice that will be known as MINUJUSTH. The BAI announced two protests during the visit: one at the UN logistics base in Haiti on Thursday at 11 am, and a second one in Champs de Mars on Friday at 11." We'll have more on this: Inner City Press will be accompanying and covering, in as much detail as possible, the UN Security Council's visit to Haiti from June 22 to 24. Watch this site.
Footnote: on behalf of the Free UN Coalition for Access, to which Guterres' spokesman Stephane Dujarric does NOT "lend" the briefing room and which has never and will never ask for a journalist to be thrown out or restricted, Inner City Press urged Guterres to more routinely take questions, for example on his way in and out of the Security Council. We'll see.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

As UNSC Meets Haiti Business, Cholera Victims Intimidated, Ask What a Plaza Would Do


By Matthew Russell Lee, Video

Port au Prince, June 23 – When the UN Security Council visited Haiti's Presidential Palace on Thursday, they heard about the cholera the UN brought, specifically that the $40 million remaining in the MINUSTAH mission's budget should remain behind. 

On Friday there was a protest while the Security Council met with the "private sector." A bus full of UN cholera victims was pressured to leave - but then returned, along with advocate Mario Joseph, and spoke with the Press. Long Periscope with Mario Joseph near the end here; second Periscope turned YouTube here.

Uniformly, the call was for individual reparations. Of a 57 year old victim who can now barely walk it was asked, what good would a community plaza do for him? But that is what the UN, when Inner City Press last asked, is offering. Done with the private sector, the Security Council drove a short way to the Cour de Cassation. The UN stands for justice? Cholera was less pointedly raised after the meeting with President Moise by his acting (for a day?) foreign minister, and was the subject of the sole questioner allowed.
 Video here
Friday when after a closed door meeting with Parliamentarians - the Army came up, wit the US - the Security Council had lunch with invited civil society members, there was a place set for cholera advocate Mario Joseph, next to Camille Chalmers. At first he wasn't there, and those who'd specifically invited him wondered why. Then he rolled in. But the Press was already told to wait outside, under a beautiful red flowering tree, and wait for the "private sector" to arrive. Earlier on Friday, the Security Council drove uphill to the Parc de Martissant and each placed a white rose at the earthquake memorial. FOKAL President Ms Duvivier brought up the UN's cholera and how little money the UN has raised; the artist Ms. Monnin explained her hanging heads of concrete and metal, with shattered mirrors on top. It spoke for itself. A small drone buzzed overhead. At the Council's next meeting, the Press was not even left in for five minutes. Earlier the delegation was escorted (run-up Periscope here) to the Haitian National Police School, where just as a meeting including the Prime Minister began, the Press was ushered out. For now, tweeted photo here. In the School courtyard, roosters could be heard crowing, and cadets singing during training. "Vous est journaliste?" a man asked, hand on his sidearm. Oui, je suis journaliste. Nothing yet on cholera, except finally some talk of new UN (part-time) envoy Josette Sheeran and her past. We'll have more on this.  On this too: in the MINUSTAH mission the talk is of re-applying for posts in the new, smaller MINUJUSTH replacement set to start October 16, 2017. The UN's presence become routinized. There is a former star of the UN Budget Committee, now working on political affairs; there's Security from other Security Council trips - one in which a UN Security officer fired a bullet inside the UN plane, leaving Ambassadors and the press on a bus ride from Goma to Kigali in Rwanda. There are long-time UN communications people and ex-pat journalists. There is a dismissive or perhaps fatalistic view of those Haitians protesting the UN's presence and impact. Then there are Haitians striving, setting up small businesses in nooks and crannies by the side of the road, while French business people fly in for contracts, assisted by their country's ambassador Elisabeth Beton, who spoke June 22 on TV Metropole about Bollore, Total and Suez. What is the UN's role in this? After the June 22 meeting, Haiti's acting foreign minister spoke on cholera, that the $40 million unspent by MINUSTAH should remain in-country. But will it? In the UN Budget Committee there's talk against it, as a bad precedent. Wasn't bringing cholera, and then denying it for six years, a worse precedent? Sui generis. Earlier on Thursday morning, the country's booming voiced Ambassador to the UN was at the airport to greet the Council members. Protests, too, awaited - although MINUSTAH staff, and a Haiti-based European journalist, mocked the protest as small.  In the minibus that took the Council members up into the hills to the Royal Oasis Hotel, the talk was of the wind-down of the MINUSTAH mission, begun after the ouster of President Aristide in 2004, of access for interpreters but barely - five minutes at each meeting? - for the press. a meeting was held with the UN Country Team.  The Press was ushered about amid generic statistics from the Deputy SRSG. Civil society, however, has been chiming in with the Press. When UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres held a press conference on June 20, Inner City Press about the UN having brought cholera to Haiti under his predecessor Ban Ki-moon but now reneging even on what Ban belatedly proposed for individual reparations. Inner City Press mentioned upcoming protests in Haiti that it will be covering from there, June 22 and 23, accompanying the UN Security Council mission which took off from JFK airport early on June 22. Photo here, Periscope video here. Guterres announced that he was just then - minutes later the announcement went out - naming as a new special envoy on Haiti Josette Sheeran, formerly the director of the UN World Food Program and now the head of the Asia Society. Video here. Transcript here. He seemed to say the UN was never going to compensate individuals or families impacted by the cholera the UN brought. And the demands are for more than that: here's a sample list, in advance of the protest(s): "1. Close the MINUSTAH acknowledging its failure
2. Cancel the MINUJUSTH articulated following the ques Chapter 7 is a contradiction with the mandate defined
3. re-articulate globally the concept of relations between the UN and Haiti and especially among Latin American countries and Haiti. Recalling the generous internationalist commitment of the founders of our country and concrete, substantial and decisive solidarity offered to Miranda and Simon Bolivar
4. Launch a process of compensation, justice and reparation contemplating the numerous victims and destruction caused by this military occupation of 13 years.
5. Compensate victims of rape, men, women and children were raped or processes used in sexual exploitation
6. Support the thousands of women who have babies and children / children without parents because soldiers and police of MINUSTAH left without parents assume their responsibilities without leaving their addresses
7. compensate the families of citizens / citizens killed by the introduction of cholera by Nepalese MINUSTAH troops. We're talking about at least 20,000 bodies (the official figure underestimated speaks of nearly 10,000 dead)
8. Compensate survivors were infected by cholera by but did not die but their lives were severely affected (we're talking about more than 800,000 people)
9. To compensate the country for the huge economic losses caused by the presence of cholera during these long 7 years.
10. Invest to universalize access to drinking water for the entire population
11. To strengthen the system of public health and sanitation." On June 21 Inner City Press asked Guterres' deputy spokesman Farhan Haq to clarify. 
UN Video here, from Minute 16:21. From the UN transcript: Inner City Press: this was something that the Secretary-General said on the record when I asked him about the seeming change in the cholera in Haiti plan.  And he said that that policy was announced by his predecessor and had two dimensions; one is fighting cholera, and the other is the possibility to support communities impacted.  It was devised not as individual support.  And just, since then, I went back and actually looked at the November A/71/620 document, and there’s a whole section on individual support.  It was called track 2B.  So I just wanted to--

Deputy Spokesman:  And I was here at the time.  And I remember the discussions that the former Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, had about this.  And, at that point, it was not determined whether it would be individual or community-based.  Even at that point, I believe the discussion was towards community-based.  So that’s something that’s… a process that’s been crafted.

Inner City Press:  I wish I’d had that document in front of me when he answered, because there are many people that are in Haiti that have seen the new announcement made by Amina Mohammed as a retrenchment, as a taking back of that before even consulting people.  Mario Joseph and others have put out a press release; they’re protesting on Thursday.  So I wanted to just get your quote before that protest, that at one time the idea of individual reparations to people harmed by cholera was in a UN document as being considered and it’s now not being considered at all?

Deputy Spokesman:  I wouldn’t say that it’s not being considered at all.  And I wouldn’t say that initially it was something that was devised as the primary idea.  This is something that’s been under consideration.  It remains under consideration, but the primary focus, for reasons that were described at the end of last year and again at the start of this year, have been community-based.  And if you look at what Ban Ki-moon said in December, again, it mentions the community-based approach.
  But the UN document in November 2016 has a Track 2B, individual. Here's the beginning of the press release for the protests: "Port-au-Prince: Haitian cholera victims and their advocates called on the UN Security Council to deliver on the promise of a new, victim-centered approach to cholera during its visit to Haiti this week, by meeting directly with victims and committing to funding the $400 million initiative before MINUSTAH --the peacekeeping mission that caused the cholera epidemic—pulls out in October. 'The UN’s apology and promises were promising in December,' said Mario Joseph, Managing Attorney of the Bureau des Avocats Internationaux (BAI) that has led the fight for justice for cholera victims. 'But seven months later, with only a pittance raised for the so-called "New Approach" and not a single promised consultation with the cholera victims, they look like empty public relations gestures. It is time for the UN to deliver.' The 15-member Security Council is in Haiti from June 22-24 to finalize the transition from MINUSTAH to a new mission focused on supporting justice that will be known as MINUJUSTH. The BAI announced two protests during the visit: one at the UN logistics base in Haiti on Thursday at 11 am, and a second one in Champs de Mars on Friday at 11." We'll have more on this: Inner City Press will be accompanying and covering, in as much detail as possible, the UN Security Council's visit to Haiti from June 22 to 24. Watch this site.
Footnote: on behalf of the Free UN Coalition for Access, to which Guterres' spokesman Stephane Dujarric does NOT "lend" the briefing room and which has never and will never ask for a journalist to be thrown out or restricted, Inner City Press urged Guterres to more routinely take questions, for example on his way in and out of the Security Council. We'll see.

Friday, June 23, 2017

UNSC Hears of Cholera, Lone Press Question, UN Country Team Goes Behind Closed Doors


By Matthew Russell Lee

Port au Prince, June 22 – When the UN Security Council visited Haiti's Presidential Palace on Thursday, they heard about the cholera the UN brought, specifically that the $40 million remaining in the MINUSTAH mission's budget should remain behind. This was emphasized after the meeting with President Moise by his acting (for a day?) foreign minister, and was the subject of the sole questioner allowed. Video here. But the responses seem routinized. In the UN Budget Committee there's talk against it, as a bad precedent. Wasn't bringing cholera, and then denying it for six years, a worse precedent? Sui generis. After a drive through the drizzle back to the Council's high altitude hotel, a meeting was held with the UN Country Team.  The Press was ushered about amid generic statistics from the Deputy SRSG. We'll have more on this. Earlier on Thursday morning, the country's booming voiced Ambassador to the UN was at the airport to greet the Council members. Protests, too, awaited - although MINUSTAH staff, and a Haiti-based European journalist, mocked the protest as small.  In the minibus that took the Council members up into the hills to the Royal Oasis Hotel, the talk was of the wind-down of the MINUSTAH mission, begun after the ouster of President Aristide in 2004, of access for interpreters but barely - five minutes at each meeting? - for the press. Civil society, however, has been chiming in with the Press. When UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres held a press conference on June 20, Inner City Press about the UN having brought cholera to Haiti under his predecessor Ban Ki-moon but now reneging even on what Ban belatedly proposed for individual reparations. Inner City Press mentioned upcoming protests in Haiti that it will be covering from there, June 22 and 23, accompanying the UN Security Council mission which took off from JFK airport early on June 22. Photo here, Periscope video here. Guterres announced that he was just then - minutes later the announcement went out - naming as a new special envoy on Haiti Josette Sheeran, formerly the director of the UN World Food Program and now the head of the Asia Society. Video here. Transcript here. He seemed to say the UN was never going to compensate individuals or families impacted by the cholera the UN brought. And the demands are for more than that: here's a sample list, in advance of the protest(s): "1. Close the MINUSTAH acknowledging its failure
2. Cancel the MINUJUSTH articulated following the ques Chapter 7 is a contradiction with the mandate defined
3. re-articulate globally the concept of relations between the UN and Haiti and especially among Latin American countries and Haiti. Recalling the generous internationalist commitment of the founders of our country and concrete, substantial and decisive solidarity offered to Miranda and Simon Bolivar
4. Launch a process of compensation, justice and reparation contemplating the numerous victims and destruction caused by this military occupation of 13 years.
5. Compensate victims of rape, men, women and children were raped or processes used in sexual exploitation
6. Support the thousands of women who have babies and children / children without parents because soldiers and police of MINUSTAH left without parents assume their responsibilities without leaving their addresses
7. compensate the families of citizens / citizens killed by the introduction of cholera by Nepalese MINUSTAH troops. We're talking about at least 20,000 bodies (the official figure underestimated speaks of nearly 10,000 dead)
8. Compensate survivors were infected by cholera by but did not die but their lives were severely affected (we're talking about more than 800,000 people)
9. To compensate the country for the huge economic losses caused by the presence of cholera during these long 7 years.
10. Invest to universalize access to drinking water for the entire population
11. To strengthen the system of public health and sanitation." On June 21 Inner City Press asked Guterres' deputy spokesman Farhan Haq to clarify. 
UN Video here, from Minute 16:21. From the UN transcript: Inner City Press: this was something that the Secretary-General said on the record when I asked him about the seeming change in the cholera in Haiti plan.  And he said that that policy was announced by his predecessor and had two dimensions; one is fighting cholera, and the other is the possibility to support communities impacted.  It was devised not as individual support.  And just, since then, I went back and actually looked at the November A/71/620 document, and there’s a whole section on individual support.  It was called track 2B.  So I just wanted to--

Deputy Spokesman:  And I was here at the time.  And I remember the discussions that the former Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, had about this.  And, at that point, it was not determined whether it would be individual or community-based.  Even at that point, I believe the discussion was towards community-based.  So that’s something that’s… a process that’s been crafted.

Inner City Press:  I wish I’d had that document in front of me when he answered, because there are many people that are in Haiti that have seen the new announcement made by Amina Mohammed as a retrenchment, as a taking back of that before even consulting people.  Mario Joseph and others have put out a press release; they’re protesting on Thursday.  So I wanted to just get your quote before that protest, that at one time the idea of individual reparations to people harmed by cholera was in a UN document as being considered and it’s now not being considered at all?

Deputy Spokesman:  I wouldn’t say that it’s not being considered at all.  And I wouldn’t say that initially it was something that was devised as the primary idea.  This is something that’s been under consideration.  It remains under consideration, but the primary focus, for reasons that were described at the end of last year and again at the start of this year, have been community-based.  And if you look at what Ban Ki-moon said in December, again, it mentions the community-based approach.
  But the UN document in November 2016 has a Track 2B, individual. Here's the beginning of the press release for the protests: "Port-au-Prince: Haitian cholera victims and their advocates called on the UN Security Council to deliver on the promise of a new, victim-centered approach to cholera during its visit to Haiti this week, by meeting directly with victims and committing to funding the $400 million initiative before MINUSTAH --the peacekeeping mission that caused the cholera epidemic—pulls out in October. 'The UN’s apology and promises were promising in December,' said Mario Joseph, Managing Attorney of the Bureau des Avocats Internationaux (BAI) that has led the fight for justice for cholera victims. 'But seven months later, with only a pittance raised for the so-called "New Approach" and not a single promised consultation with the cholera victims, they look like empty public relations gestures. It is time for the UN to deliver.' The 15-member Security Council is in Haiti from June 22-24 to finalize the transition from MINUSTAH to a new mission focused on supporting justice that will be known as MINUJUSTH. The BAI announced two protests during the visit: one at the UN logistics base in Haiti on Thursday at 11 am, and a second one in Champs de Mars on Friday at 11." We'll have more on this: Inner City Press will be accompanying and covering, in as much detail as possible, the UN Security Council's visit to Haiti from June 22 to 24. Watch this site.
Footnote: on behalf of the Free UN Coalition for Access, to which Guterres' spokesman Stephane Dujarric does NOT "lend" the briefing room and which has never and will never ask for a journalist to be thrown out or restricted, Inner City Press urged Guterres to more routinely take questions, for example on his way in and out of the Security Council. We'll see.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

On Haiti Cholera, After ICP Asked SG Guterres, UN Spins, Victims To Protest in Port au Prince

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, June 21 – When UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres held a press conference on June 20, Inner City Press about the UN having brought cholera to Haiti under his predecessor Ban Ki-moon but now reneging even on what Ban belatedly proposed for individual reparations. Inner City Press mentioned upcoming protests in Haiti that it will be covering from there, June 22 and 23. Guterres announced that he was just then - minutes later the announcement went out - naming as a new special envoy on Haiti Josette Sheeran, formerly the director of the UN World Food Program and now the head of the Asia Society. Video here. Transcript here. He seemed to say the UN was never going to compensate individuals or families impacted by the cholera the UN brought. 

On June 21 Inner City Press asked Guterres' deputy spokesman Farhan Haq to clarify. UN Video here, from Minute 16:21. From the UN transcript: Inner City Press: this was something that the Secretary-General said on the record when I asked him about the seeming change in the cholera in Haiti plan.  And he said that that policy was announced by his predecessor and had two dimensions; one is fighting cholera, and the other is the possibility to support communities impacted.  It was devised not as individual support.  And just, since then, I went back and actually looked at the November A/71/620 document, and there’s a whole section on individual support.  It was called track 2B.  So I just wanted to--

Deputy Spokesman:  And I was here at the time.  And I remember the discussions that the former Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, had about this.  And, at that point, it was not determined whether it would be individual or community-based.  Even at that point, I believe the discussion was towards community-based.  So that’s something that’s… a process that’s been crafted.

Inner City Press:  I wish I’d had that document in front of me when he answered, because there are many people that are in Haiti that have seen the new announcement made by Amina Mohammed as a retrenchment, as a taking back of that before even consulting people.  Mario Joseph and others have put out a press release; they’re protesting on Thursday.  So I wanted to just get your quote before that protest, that at one time the idea of individual reparations to people harmed by cholera was in a UN document as being considered and it’s now not being considered at all?

Deputy Spokesman:  I wouldn’t say that it’s not being considered at all.  And I wouldn’t say that initially it was something that was devised as the primary idea.  This is something that’s been under consideration.  It remains under consideration, but the primary focus, for reasons that were described at the end of last year and again at the start of this year, have been community-based.  And if you look at what Ban Ki-moon said in December, again, it mentions the community-based approach.
  But the UN document in November 2016 has a Track 2B, individual. Here's the beginning of the press release for the protests: "Port-au-Prince: Haitian cholera victims and their advocates called on the UN Security Council to deliver on the promise of a new, victim-centered approach to cholera during its visit to Haiti this week, by meeting directly with victims and committing to funding the $400 million initiative before MINUSTAH --the peacekeeping mission that caused the cholera epidemic—pulls out in October. 'The UN’s apology and promises were promising in December,' said Mario Joseph, Managing Attorney of the Bureau des Avocats Internationaux (BAI) that has led the fight for justice for cholera victims. 'But seven months later, with only a pittance raised for the so-called "New Approach" and not a single promised consultation with the cholera victims, they look like empty public relations gestures. It is time for the UN to deliver.' The 15-member Security Council is in Haiti from June 22-24 to finalize the transition from MINUSTAH to a new mission focused on supporting justice that will be known as MINUJUSTH. The BAI announced two protests during the visit: one at the UN logistics base in Haiti on Thursday at 11 am, and a second one in Champs de Mars on Friday at 11." We'll have more on this: Inner City Press will be accompanying and covering, in as much detail as possible, the UN Security Council's visit to Haiti from June 22 to 24. Watch this site.
Footnote: on behalf of the Free UN Coalition for Access, to which Guterres' spokesman Stephane Dujarric does NOT "lend" the briefing room and which has never and will never ask for a journalist to be thrown out or restricted, Inner City Press urged Guterres to more routinely take questions, for example on his way in and out of the Security Council. We'll see.