Friday, June 2, 2017

UN Guterres' Response to UN's Lead-Poisoned Roma Victims in Kosovo Called Slap in Face

By Matthew Russell Lee
UNITED NATIONS, May 26 – Amid vague claims of reform at the UN, even the victims of high profile UN malfeasance such as bringing cholera to Haiti and abuse of children in the Central African Republic remain without any remedy. The Roma in Kosovo, poisoned by lead in a UN camp, remain so even after "new" Secretary General Antonio Guterres on May 26 offered mere community projects, not restitution, see below. Back on April 19, Inner City Press asked the UN's still holdover spokesman Staphane Dujarric about it, UN transcript here: Inner City Press: I wanted to ask you, on this issue of the… the Roma that were given… that were poisoned by lead in the UN camp, I wanted to know, I’ve seen your quote, but I wanted to know more specifically, if it’s true that the Office of Legal Affairs (OLA) is recommending that the delays attributable… the delay in making some kind of a payment or reparations to the people who have been poisoned for so long is being delayed by OLA not wanting to admit liability, what has the UN system, including the Secretary-General, learned from the situation of Haiti, which many people describe as a shameful one for the UN in which no one has really received much compensation and it went on for years?  What’s been learned from that?

Spokesman:  Look, I understand that people may be interested in what is being said behind closed doors.  There are discussions going on between various parts of the house.  The Secretary-General will make a decision in the very near future on how to respond to this particular case in Kosovo.  I think if you ask what we’ve learned is that there is a need for… I think there is a need for continued care and compassion on how the UN operates.
Inner City Press: What about the speed of decision-making?  I guess, one of the things that people point to in Haiti is that six years of denials, etc., so is this… does this speed what the UN would want to do going forward, or is there some desire… obviously, you’d have to… [inaudible]

Spokesman:  I think all these questions are complicated and complex, and they, unfortunately, take time.

Inner City Press:  When is the decision expected?

Spokesman:  As I said, very soon.
  More than a month later, with Guterres again out of town, not Dujarric but his deputy Farhan Haq read out this.  In response, from one of the attorneys for the UN's victims in Haiti: “Secretary-General Guterres promised to promote a ‘culture of accountability’ at the United Nations” said Brian Concannon, Jr., Esq., Executive Director of IJDH. “But what he is delivering is a slap in the face, to the victims in Kosovo and in Haiti, but also to the UN’s own human rights systems, its Member States, and people all over the world who look to the organization to promote the rule of law.” This is the same Guterres who claims his reform proposals are public when they are not, and still restricts Inner City Press which asks him about it. We'll have more on this. Back on April 11 at the UN, there were Press questions, but few answers, about the UN's chimerical response to its Haiti victims. On April 12, journalist Karin Mattisson is set to speak, with Code Blue, about how little was done for the victims in CAR; see in advance this story.

  The UN's retaliation, including against Swedish official Anders Kompass, is still in the news in that country, as in New York the UN dodges Press questions about holes in its claimed whistleblower protections. Based on retaliation against three separate whistleblowers, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Prince Zeid should be suspended, it has been requested of UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres in a lettercopied to US Senators Bob Corker and Ben Cardin, and UN Special Rapporteur David Kayehere.  See also this detailed report by Brett Schaefer on why the UN budget should be cut, until whistleblowers are protected.