Tuesday, May 17, 2016

UN Responsible for Cholera in Haiti, Lead Poison in Kovoso, Difference UNexplained

By Matthew Russell Lee
UNITED NATIONS, May 16 --  When the UN of Ban Ki-moon is asked about bringing cholera to Haiti, the answer is usually, “Our position remains unchanged” -- that is, immunity. 
 But when UN OCHA official John Ging mentioned Haiti and cholera in a February 18 briefing and Inner City Press asked more about it, and what the UN is doing to people expelled from the Dominican Republic to Haiti where the UN introduced cholera? Video here.
  Ging to his credit did not say “our position remains the same,” instead he reviewed the waning support from donors, after citing 105 families in a camp on the border with only two toilets. What are the UN's responsibilities? How can the UN shirk them so badly? 
The UN in Kosovo left Roma children lead poisoned by putting there in a refugee camp by an old mine. In that horrendous case - video here - the UN is now said to be considering compensation. Why not in Haiti? On May 16, Inner City Press asked Ban Ki-moon's deputy spokesperson Farhan Haq, UN transcript here
Inner City Press: On Kosovo, since it's in the Council today, I wanted to ask whether it was said in April that Zahir Tanin had raised to the UN Headquarters this idea of paying compensation for the Roma children that were living in a camp over… and got lead poisoning.  Now that it's mid-May, what… what… one, can you confirm how this was raised?  And what is the process at the UN to decide whether to pay this compensation or not?

Deputy Spokesman:  I believe that process is still under way.  I don't have anything to add to what Stéphane said about this several weeks back.  But, as you know, that there was a panel that made its recommendations, which are being evaluated, and we're trying to follow up.

Question:  And how is that… I guess… many people don't understand it.  How is this process different than the one on Haiti?  Like, was a panel set up by the UN to decide whether to even consider compensation or what's the difference?

Deputy Spokesman:  They're completely different circumstances.  They have had different bodies looking into them.  They have had different ways of looking at it.  You'll have seen what we've had to say about Haiti.  It's a separate matter. 

We'll have more on this. For now, NYT of May 14 here.