Friday, January 15, 2016

Has the UN lost credibility in Haiti and Africa?

Par Saeed Shabazz | 1/14/2016, 3:13 p.m.
United Nations General Assembly hall

As 2015 was coming to an end, the 193-member United Nations wrapped up its agenda with discussions and resolutions on issues in the Sahel/Western Sahara, Burundi as the African Union agreed Dec. 19 to deploy an African prevention and protection mission and Dec. 15 the U.N. Security Council adopted Resolution 2251, which extended the mandate of the U.N. Security Force for Abyei, South Sudan, until May 15.

According to the 2016 U.N. Security Council Report, the 15-member body will be discussing the situations in the African nations of Mali, Cote d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Sudan (Darfur), Libya, Central African Republic and Somalia.

In 2014, the Security Council held 88 meetings dealing with issues in sub-Saharan Africa. There were four solely dealing with the situation in Haiti, where the world body has deployed 4,577 peacekeepers as part of the mission known as MINUSTAH (U.N. Stabilization Mission in Haiti) since 2004 at an annual cost of $500 million.

“We cannot make a broad brush analysis on what the U.N. is doing in places such as Haiti, Central African Republic and South Sudan without specific data,” stated Dr. Leonard Jeffries, a retired college professor and leading Pan-Africanist. “For instance,” he asked, “what is the U.N. doing about the cholera epidemic that has killed 8,000 Haitians that many say was brought there by peacekeeping soldiers from Nepal?”

On Jan. 11, to mark the sixth anniversary of the devastating earthquake in Haiti, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon issued a statement saying that Haitians still suffer from the “lack of access to clean water and sanitation.” However, there was not a word concerning the cholera epidemic that also sickened 745,000 Haitians.

According to Inner City Press, a blog that reports to U.N. correspondents and U.N. insiders, a spokesman for Ki-moon told reporters that the U.N. had not changed its legal position, which is that it was not complicit in bringing the disease to the Caribbean island, although no cholera cases were present for over 100 years.

“Why is there a U.N. Chapter 7 peace enforcement mission in Haiti for over 10 years—a country not at war?” asked Ezili Danto of the Connecticut-based Haitian Lawyers Leadership Network on the organization’s Facebook page.

The answer: “Haiti has trillions of dollars in natural resources—gold ($200 billion), oil, natural gas, iridium (a rare mineral vital for building spacecraft), copper ($8 billion), uranium, silver, coal, diamonds and marble.” Danto argue that there is an international conspiracy to illegally take the gold, oil and other mineral resources of the Haitian people.

Moving along to the African continent, President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe, the African Union chairman for 2015, told the gathering of nations at the 70th U.N. General Assembly annual debate “the entire world stands to benefit from an economically empowered African continent than from one emasculated by deprivation and with an over-dependence on others.”

“Africa is not looking for handouts,” Mugabe said. “Rather, it is looking for partners in massive infrastructural development in creating and exploiting the value chains of its God-given natural resources and in improving the quality of life of the continent’s citizens,” Mugabe added.
However, as 2015 was coming to a close, Ki-moon, in his year-ending press conference on Dec. 16, assured the press that the U.N. was in fact engaged in African issues such as the constitutional referendum including presidential and legislative elections in the Central African Republic; the U.N. peacekeeping mission in South Sudan was housing 185,000 civilians; and that he was “alarmed” by the escalating violence in Burundi. However, the two-term secretary-general would not entertain questions from reporters concerning Africa.

One fact is for sure, the U.N., in spite of what Mugabe set before it in September, continues to fund massive peacekeeping operations on the African continent with eight out of 15 missions.

Western Sahara’s MINURSO annual budget is $53,190,000; the Central African Republic’s MINUSCA annual budget is $814,066,800; Mali’s MINSMA annual budget is $923,305,800; the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s MONUSCO annual budget is $1,332,178,600; Sudan’s (Darfur) UNAMID annual budget $1,102,164,700; South Sudan’s UNMISS annual budget is $1,085,769,200; Cote d’Ivoire’s UNOCI annual budget is $402,794,300; and Liberia’s UNMIL annual budget is $344,712,200.

“We have to make our own assessment and evaluation of what the U.N. is accomplishing in Africa,” argues Jeffries, who serves as the president of the World African Diaspora Union. What has been the U.N.’s criteria going into these various African nations with peacekeeping missions, he asks rhetorically, adding that one thing that is quite clear is the corporate culture that motivates the U.N.

Said Jefferies, “We have to develop a mechanism that allows us to evaluate the real or imagined success of the U.N. operations in Africa.”

HCN has underlined the paragraphs above

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