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UN: Sri Lanka


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Replies by Burundi, Bahrain & Egypt at UN HRC, Zeid Light on Sri Lanka

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, June 15 -- As the UN Human Rights Council 29th ended its first day on June 15, there were only five rights of reply: Burundi to the EU, Bahrain to the US, Egypt to the UK and Japan and South Korea to, who else, North Korea.

   Burundi's representative said that military figures who fled the country had been with the coup attempt, and that now NGOs from outside the country were stirring up youth; the word “terrorism” was (mis) used. The youth wing of the ruling party, it was argued, is not a militia. Really? What about the journalists who've fled, as the Free UN Coalition for Access has asked?

  Bahrain and Egypt both argued that their legal system treat people fairly, something that for example Maryam Alkhawaja and Mohamed Fadel Fahmy among many others might disagree with.

   North Korea was told, by the repliers, to cooperate with the UN; meanwhile DPRK's mission to the UN in New York issued two press releases, about nuclear weapons and about inter-Korean relations. Also at the UN in New York, Morocco told a committee that Western Sahara is its; Chile replied that it is called Western Sahara, not “Moroccan Sahara.”

  One of the NGO speakers said that Australia, in a right of reply, should say whether it has paid human smugglers to turn their boats around. Libya was called on to speak in the afternoon session but was not present.

  Sri Lanka spoke of how it respects migrants' rights, after Prince Zeid in his speech in the morning went notably light on them. What will his report, by September, have to say? What will have been revealed by then about his OHCHR, and the Secretariat in New York, and the cover up of French soldiers' alleged child rapes in Central African Republic? Why didn't the speaking NGOs raise this? Ah, UN. We'll continue to cover this - and #HRC29.


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