Question: My question is: what’s your response to this study, and also, whether the new Head of the Office of Legal Affairs, whether there is any indication that, you know, like Nicolas Michel in the past, but unlike Ms. O’Brien, whether he will take questions on legal topics such as these? Why the claim was dis… was dismissed and what the legal implications are?
Spokesperson: Well, on the second part of your questions, we just in the past few minutes announced this appointment, so I don’t think you would expect me to pass further judgement on what he may or may not wish to do with regard to speaking to the media, but we will certainly convey your wishes to him. With regard to the first part of your questions, I don’t have anything further to say beyond what we have said in the past. We are obviously aware of this latest report.
There are two points here. The first is that the position of the Secretary-General is and has always been that while the claims are not receivable, this decision would not in any way diminish his personal commitment and that of the United Nations to do all that the Organization can do to help the people of Haiti to overcome the cholera epidemic.
And I think you will have seen that, yesterday, the Haitian Government and the United Nations launched a revised humanitarian action plan for this year asking for $100 million to help Haitian people in need of assistance. The financial aid would help cover immediate needs for the rest of the year, notably for the most vulnerable 935,500 people who have not yet received assistance and who are at risk of cholera or from the hurricane season.
And this humanitarian action plan now revised is underlining the cholera response as a key priority, and it has earmarked $40 million for critical cholera needs. Only $8.7 million has been mobilized so far, and this is of particular concern during the hurricane season, as funding is not enough to meet potential needs.
And just to underscore that point again, on the ground, strenuous efforts are being made by the Haitian Government and by the United Nations and other humanitarian partners to help prepare for this hurricane season and the potential for further cholera cases. However, the funding is woefully inadequate at this point, and that really needs to be addressed by international donors with a sense of urgency and solidarity. Yes, Jonathan?
Question: Martin, a little bit more on this report, which I have been reading through this morning. It squarely does hold accountability with the… with the United Nations and even though, yes, you say that the Secretary-General has come out and made statements addressing some of the concerns related to this, to date, the UN has not accepted responsibility for the outbreak. And the report itself actually in very scientific terms lays out the reasons to why they come to the conclusions that they come, including the strain of the actual cholera virus that ties into a Nepalese version that had been ravishing [sic] the country at the time. And we all know that there were Nepalese peacekeepers who actually had the disease in Haiti serving and the river connected to the outbreak, and the location of the outbreak and whatnot.
When is the UN going to address this particular report, which is very comprehensive, and can we have someone here to talk us through what concrete steps the UN is going to be taking to address the issue? And the report also makes some very concrete recommendations on what the UN can do in the future to avoid such outbreaks or problems such as this, including recommendations on where to set up latrines and other sanitation-related issues that can arise in setting up a peacekeeping mission. Is there someone perhaps from the peacekeeping mission who could speak to us and let us know what is being done?
Spokesperson: Well, as I just said, we are obviously aware of the report, and obviously it is being read. I am not in a position to comment beyond what I have just said. I have heard your request for someone to speak about this, and I will certainly pass it along, but I don’t have anything further for you at this point.When a "cholera plan" consists of unsuccessfully begging for money, it amounts to filing for intellectual and moral bankruptcy.