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On Sri Lanka, Ban Has No Comment on LLRC Report, "It's Up to Member States"

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, December 16 -- Now that the Sri Lankan government's Lessons Learnt & Reconciliation Commission report is public, with its claim that civilians were not targeted, Inner City Press on Friday asked UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's associate spokesman Farhan Haq for the UN's response to the report, and any moves for accountability. Video here, from Minute 8:29.

  Haq said "we'll need to study" the LLRC report and that Ban's UN "may respond in due course." He said, "We are continuing with our efforts at accountability... We hope and trust that member states will look to the contents of th[e] report.. led by Marsuki Darusman."

  Inner City Press asked about what a member state on the UN Human Rights Council told it, that Ban sent the Panel of Experts report to Geneva without even a UN stamp on it -- "is it just a piece of paper?"

  Haq replied, "it's a UN report, you can find it on a UN website." That doesn't make up for the lack of a UN stamp on the filing with the HRC. The UN's Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs for example runs a website which put online, on a "UN website," reports issued by governments, like Sri Lanka. Does that make it a UN report?

   Haq said it was "presented here at UN." But unlike Ban's report on the murder of Benezir Bhutto in Pakistan, for example, or on the introduction of cholera into Haiti, no UN press conference ever "presented" the Sri Lanka report. After the Sri Lankan government leaked it in Colombo, Ban's spokesperson's office made it available, in a stack, without holding any press conference or Q&A.

  Inner City Press asked if Ban believes the report should be taken up by the Human Rights Council before Sri Lanka's Universal Periodic Review, some time off.

Haq said, "it's up to member of the Human Rights Council what they take up." That may be true, but Ban has for example publicly expressed regret about the UN Security Council votes on Syria - an issue on which he may have more support, or be more pushed, by influential member states.

(c) UN Photo
Ban & Rajapaksa, UN stamp on report, comment on LLRC not seen

  Contrary to what Ban said on Syria, on Sri Lanka Haq concluded, "as you know, these are bodies of member states and we'll await what kind of decisions they take." Ah, quiet diplomacy...

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Click here for Sept 23, '11 about UN General Assembly

Click for Mar 1, '11 re Libya, Sri Lanka, UN Corruption

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These reports are usually also available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis.

Click here for a Reuters AlertNet piece by this correspondent about Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army. Click here for an earlier Reuters AlertNet piece about the Somali National Reconciliation Congress, and the UN's $200,000 contribution from an undefined trust fund.  Video Analysis here

Click here for Sept 26, 2011 New Yorker on Inner City Press at UN

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