On Sri Lanka, UN Notes
Starvation, Believes No Heavy Artillery in Use, Defers to Council's
Byline: Matthew Russell Lee of
Inner City Press at the UN: News Analysis
NATIONS, March 5 -- Even
on a day when the UN belatedly notes the starvation of Tamils trapped
conflict zone in Sri Lanka, it undercut this report Thursday by
declaring the expulsion
of NGOs from Darfur "the important issue of the day." At the UN's
noon briefing in New York, Ban Ki-moon's spokesperson shifted directly
read-out of press releases, including the statement on Sri Lanka, to a
on Darfur, without taking questions on what she had read. Later on
Inner City Press asked the UN's Radhika Coomaraswamy if she thinks the
doing enough about Sri Lanka, and how to allocate blame for the deaths
including of children and by starvation. Video here,
from Minute 24:06.
Ms. Coomaraswamy said that the UN's focus is
humanitarian, on the
"ways and means of evacuation." She recited that the government of
Sri Lanka has made a commitment not to use long range artillery, while
that there are reports the continued use. For example, in Maaththa'lan on March 3. Still she called it a step forward,
and said it was up to the Security Council to consider the "larger
political issues" such as "whether to call for a ceasefire."
UN's Coomaraswamy, has Sri Lankan Army
stopped heavy artillery?
Ban has called, twice now, for a suspension of
fighting. The Security
Council held a single briefing -- explicitly on humanitarian and not
issues -- and now Sri Lanka is not on the Council's agenda for the
While the UN raises its voice, correctly, about the
expulsion of NGOs
from Darfur, it is more muted about the Northern Sri Lanka conflict
there are no international NGOs or journalists allowed at all.
12 debate on Sri Lanka http://bloggingheads.tv/diavlogs/17772?in=11:33&out=32:56
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