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UN: Sri Lanka


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Hypocrisy on UN Human Rights Council Has HRW Praising Sri Lanka Work, Delay by HRC

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, March 14 -- As the UN Human Rights Council's 28th session churns on, Myanmar, Syria and others are on the agenda in the coming week -- but not Sri Lanka.

  Despite lip service to "justice delayed is justice denied," the six month deferral granted to Sri Lanka for the killing of 40,000 civilians in 2009 is ignored, dismissed or spun, including by some human rights groups.

  On March 14 Al Jazeera, promoting the March 17 session on Syria in which a list of names may be released, had the UN representative of Human Rights Watch standing at the General Assembly entrance in New York praising the Human Rights Council's work on Sri Lanka.

    Really? Praise for the six month deferral on Sri Lanka? How is this different from the much-criticized delay of the South Sudan report by the African Union, except for who is doing the delaying?

 This same HRW partners with the UN Censorship Alliance, offering in their clubhouse, instead of the UN's open Press Briefing Room, ideologically limited critique of cover-up rapes in Sudan without mentioning the role of Herve Ladsous' UN Peacekeeping, as on the Minova rapes in DRC. Human rights, indeed.

  The 28th session's first day on March 2 ended with replies by Syria and Saudi Arabia, North Korea and Japan -- and Ethiopia to Norway.

   The first two standoffs were routine, about Saudi Arabians funding terrorism and the death toll in Syria, Japan's “past crimes” and the recent North Korea or DPRK report. Ethiopia defended its law on non-governmental organizations; its reply did not mention the Zone 9 Bloggers being jailed.

    Mexico praised the US FCC's Net Neutrality decision; HRC chair Joachim Rucker played time keeper at the end, telling DPRK to wrap it up, and saying only two minutes on second replies.

  Saudi Arabia's statements did not mention jailed and flogged blogger Raif Badawi. Nor did Prince Zeid's opening remarks explain how his criticism of countries claiming exceptions to human rights law was consistent with his obtaining a six month deferral of the HRC report on Sri Lanka.

  The UK's Joyce Anelay said the report should be published no later than September; as she spoke in Geneva, the UK delegation in New York went into the UN Security Council to meet with incoming Council president France. Why was the slaughter in Sri Lanka never put on the Security Council's agenda? We'll have more on all this.


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