Monday, December 5, 2016

On Haiti Cholera, ICP Asks UN of Ban's Half Apology and Impunity Toward Individuals, Spin

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, December 2 -- After the UN under Ban Ki-moon killed more than 10,000 people in Haiti by bringing cholera, Ban spent years dodging court papers and the issue.

The UN now says it has a new approach to Ban Ki-moon longstanding impunity for bringing cholera to Haiti. But on October 14, the UN of Ban and his Under Secretary General for Public Information Cristina Gallach had Inner City Press thrown out of of the “available” meeting on the new approach.

On December 1, in his last month as UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon is presenting this new approach and two hours before his deputy Jan Eliasson and adviser David Nabarro held an embargoed press conference about a just-released 16-page document.

At 3 pm Ban Ki-moon delivered a non-apology: “We simply did not do enough with regard to the cholera outbreak.”

No, the UN did too much: it brought cholera and killed 10,000 people and counting.

On December 2, Inner City Press asked Ban's spokesman Stephane Dujarric, video hereUN transcript here:

Inner City Press:  I wanted to ask you about yesterday's… what Philip Alston called a half apology by the Secretary-General.  I want to ask you, I guess, given that he was the Special Rapporteur on the case, he told The Miami Herald the following:  He said, "He apologizes that the UN has not done more to eradicate cholera but not for causing the disease in the first place.  As a result, there remains a good chance that little to no money will be raised and that the grand new approach will remain a breakthrough on paper but one that brings little to the victims and people of Haiti."

I guess I just wanted to ask you, given that this is the phrase that he used, we didn't do enough, when, in fact, some people are saying the UN maybe did too much in terms of bringing it, does this… Philip Alston is a longtime human rights expert.  What's the response to this critique?

Spokesman:  I think yesterday's statement by the Secretary-General and, I think, what we heard from the deputy and Dr. Nabarro, I think, was a very important step forward.  We clearly understand that some people may not be pleased or may not have heard what they wanted, what they wanted to hear.

What we hope they heard is the Secretary-General's words, the apology, and also his sincere determination, determination of the UN system, to move forward on this two-track approach.  And I think, if you heard from… if you listened to the reaction from the Member States that spoke yesterday after the Secretary-General delivered his remarks, I think they were very positive.  They were very encouraging.

Dr. Nabarro is being tasked to follow up with potential donors to ensure that we have the funding, the funding that we need.

Inner City Press:  In most other instances where there's a mass tort by… by… of a kind of negligence or not, the people that were actually injured… you can think of 9/11; you can think of any number of things, where people that were injured were compensated rather than building a playground.

Spokesman:  Listen, I think… listen, I hope both the Deputy Secretary-General and the Secretary-General were very clear.  On track two, there are two sub-tracks, right?  The community approach and individual approach.  It is clear from what we've said, from what the deputy said, that initially we will move forward on the community, the community approach.

The individual approach requires a lot more steps, including the identification of deceased, of people who have been, who've been impacted, further consideration, further consultations with the victims' groups and the communities.  So no one is saying no to the individual approach.  What we're saying is, in the immediate, we're focusing on the community approach, and from there, we will move forward.

Inner City Press:  And if Dr. Nabarro becomes the head of WHO, as he's running to become, is there… I mean, you were saying, like, he's the point man to raise money.  Is that…

Spokesman:  I can only speak to the situation up until December 31st at midnight.  Again, as to my answer to [inaudible], there is a determination from the Secretary-General to ensure the transition goes smoothly. The incoming team has been fully briefed on all these files, including and especially the Haiti file.   

Since Ban's approach says some unidentified people the UN consulted prefer payments to “the community” rather than to the individual families whose bread-winners were killed by the UN's cholera, Inner City Press asked if the UN would praise private companies like Coca-Cola if after mass torts like in Bhopal they bypassed victims for “communities.” Video here.

   Inner City Press asked for the UN's response to Philip Alston saying that Ban followed the advice and pressure of the United States in dodging responsibility for cholera in Haiti. Eliasson said the legal position was adopted before he took up his position -- five years ago.

  Nabarro answered Inner City Press' question about how much money has been raised since the October 14 meeting Inner City Press was ejected from -- Eliasson looked surprised, that Beyond the Vine video is here, story here, and here an apparently UNheard audio of eviction -- with a figure of $18 million for Track 1A.

   The 16-page report says that the UN won't consult communities until it has money - but at the press conference it was claimed that these consultations supported not even trying to make individuals whole. Inner City Press raised its hand to ask this question, and another, but it was not allowed (while the media that moderator Stephane Dujarric seemed most concerned with servicing was allowed a second question). This is UN spin.

This to: Ban is not apologizing for the UN bringing cholera, but for its response. And no apology for the many years of lying.

On November 21, Inner City Press asked Ban's spokesman Stephane Dujarric, UN transcript here: 

Inner City Press: I wanted to, to ask about Haiti and cholera, also on the immunity front.  I'm sure you've seen the story in IRIN where they're saying that very little money has yet been contributed after that meeting on October 13th, but what jumped out at me was a quote by David Nabarro saying, it's hard to have certainty that there will be money without clarity on what the actual material assistance might look like.

So since he's part of the UN's team on cholera and he seems to be saying, like, the time is running out, what is the time schedule for the Secretary-General to… to lay forth his plan?  Does he expect to vote on it before he leaves?

Spokesman:  We expect the Secretary-General to present his plan next week to the General Assembly, and we'd also try to organise a briefing for you, either on or off the record, prior to that, the day before, so you get a little bit of understanding and deeper understanding of what the Secretary-General is going to propose.

Inner City Press:  Request that it be on… on the record.

Spokesman:  I hear…

On October 25, Philip Alston gave a press conference in the UN Press Briefing Room, at which a total of two journalists asked questions: the New York Times and Inner City Press. (Ban's spokesman Stephane Dujarric did not even list Alston's press conference in his office “Week Ahead.”Periscope video here.

   Inner City Press asked Alston if he saw Ban Ki-moon's UN's impunity for cholera in Haiti as similar to the lack of accountability for rapes, including of children, in the Central African Republic. Alston distinguished the two, saying that some of the problems with peacekeeper sexual abuse are up to member states, and praising Ban for firing Babacar Gaye.

  (One wonders if Alston is aware that Gaye's boss Herve Ladsous of France has publicly raped the rapes to “R&R” and that the abuse has continued after Gaye, from Senegal, was fired.)