Hey Haiti: the UN is Sorry they Killed so Many of You!

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon is asking the countries of the world to contribute $400 million over the next two years to a new program to try to deal with the effects of the cholera outbreak that has killed almost 10,000 people in Haiti. He has even gone so far as to concede that the UN “simply did not do enough.”

What he will not admit, of course, it that those deaths are on his hands; they died because in 2010 raw sewage from a UN Peacekeepers Camp was dumped into the local river.

Now, after six years, Ban Ki Moon wants the taxpayers of the world to pay into a US$400 Million fund to be administered by the UN, to clean up a mess that was created by the ineptitude and the negligence of the UN in the first place.

He fails to mention that the UN has taken no lessons from the experience; a UN Internal Audit report in June 2015 found the waste management practices in the UN Mission in Haiti were still “unsatisfactory”, and the number of people in the UN who have accepted any responsibility for anything relating to the cholera epidemic stands at an impressive zero.

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At the same time, when the Haitian survivors tried to seek justice through the legal system in the United States; Ban Ki Moon added insult to injury by claimed immunity – and Obama’s State Department acquiesced – so the victims would not even have a hearing.

Under Ban Ki Moon, the United Nations abused their immunity to protect UN personnel from being investigated for rape and sexual assaults throughout the world, and even prevented French investigators from being able to proceed with an investigation into the ongoing sexual abuse of children in the Central African Republic, not because the perpetrators were UN personnel but because the French investigator needed the assistance of a UN staff member to identify witnesses to the abuse.

Instead, Ban Ki Moon wants to spend time – and the taxpayers’ money – investigating the 1961 plane crash that killed the then UN Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjöld.

Meanwhile, the US taxpayer picks up 28% of the cost of the UN’s “peacekeeping” operations.

The UN is unaccountable and will go to any length not to be subjected to the same demands for accountability or compassion that it demands of Member States. This is the organization that stood back while 800,000 people brutally murdered in the Rwandan Genocide, and washed their hands of any blame, promoted the then Head of Peacekeeping to become the next Secretary-General. This is the Organization whose inaction facilitated the Srebrenica massacre, then excused itself of any blame for what happened there too. The culture of the organization remains the same today.

The UN was created the result of the San Francisco conference in 1945. There the Allied Powers met – two weeks after the US Army liberated the Buchenwald concentration camp – and created an International Organization that represented the hope of the civilized world that they would never have to do it again.

What has happened since, tragically, is that the Organization that was created for the noblest of causes has degenerated to a level of such a lack of compassion that it has less in common with the men who liberated Buchenwald than it has with the local Station Master. Ten thousand deaths and six years later: the Secretary-General can only grudgingly offer the platitude that “we are profoundly sorry for our role.”

The extent of this “profound” sorrow, of course, does not extend as far as admitting that it was the United Nations that created the problem, or explaining why, when the scientific evidence was irrefutable, the UN has spent six years denying responsibility – and will still not admit liability.

Instead, the UN now expects to be praised for their efforts in coming up with this initiative, and expects the member states to contribute US$400 Million on the basis of some moral obligation that does not extend to themselves.

Adding insult to injury, the UN has continued to do business with the local contractor that dumped the sewage and spread the cholera that – and that company is in line to benefit further from some of that US$400 Million, as the UN decides there is a need to build more community clinics to treat those afflicted.

This cannot be what the delegates to the San Francisco Conference had in mind in 1945, nor is it what the men who liberated Buchenwald expected it to be, nor what they paid taxes for when they came home.

President-Elect Trump has named South Carolina Governor Haley to be the next US Ambassador to the UN. There will be many international issues in the coming years where – as in the whole situation in Syria – where the diplomatic and bureaucratic constipation that is the UN system will prove unable and unwilling to act, and there will be nothing that Ambassador Haley will be able to do about it.

The internal management of the UN, however, is an entirely different issue.

The United States pays 22% of the UN Regular Budget and 28% of the Peacekeeping budget, and legislation passed last year authorizes 15% of that contribution be withheld until the UN introduces a ‘whistleblower protection’ regime that allows staff to report wrongdoing without having to fear losing their jobs. The Obama administration proved unwilling to take that action – but unless and until something is done to bring accountability to the UN, the world will have spend more and more burying the atrocities the UN insists are not their fault, and the US tax dollars given to the Organization will continue to be flushed away like the sewage in Haiti.


Peter A. Gallo

A native of Edinburgh, Scotland, Peter spent 19 years in the Far East as an investigator in the private sector, based in Hong Kong, he worked on pre-investment Due Diligence, fraud and corruption investigations throughout China and the Asia-Pacific, and was recognised as a leading authority consulting on money laundering and terrorist financing prevention. In 2011 he was recruited by the United Nations Office of Internal Oversight Services and spent four years based in New York, gaining a unique insight into the inefficiencies fostered by the UN in practice. He graduated in law from the University of Aberdeen in Scotland, has an MBA from Strathclyde and an LLM in International Criminal Law from the University of Torino, Italy. Admitted to practice law in Scotland, Hong Kong and New York, he has written and provided training in the prevention and investigation of financial crime to both professional and academic audiences, having been a Certified Fraud Examiner and Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialist. Following his experience with the UN, he is now an outspoken critic of the corruption and ineptitude inherent in the Organization, particular in respect of it's failure to investigate fraud, waste and abuse within the UN system and the Organizations failure to protect women and children from sexual exploitation.

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