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Sri Lanka's Ethnic Cleansing Bonds Touted by StanChart and HSBC, IMF Silence on Vote Is "Policy"

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, August 2 -- Less than a week after five countries on the International Monetary Fund's executive board cast rare votes of abstention and did not support the IMF's $2.6 billion loan to Sri Lanka, due to the continued detention of 280,000 people in internment camps in the north, Inner City Press on July 30 asked the IMF to finally confirm the five abstentions or to explain why it refuses to disclose the votes of its executive board.

  IMF spokesperson Caroline Atkinson replied that "it's just a matter of our policy not to... it may even be a matter of our legal requirements... It's a matter for executive board member to disclose their voting if they wish to. It's not a matter for IMF staff or management, that's always our practice." But why?

  Later on July 30, Inner City Press asked the UK's outgoing Ambassador to the UN John Sawers about the IMF loan, on which the UK abstained. Sawers too dodged the question, saying "You'll have to ask my colleagues in Washington about the situation at the IMF board. The loan has been approved, as you say." Video here, from Minute 5:34. After that, Sawers mentioned the displacement -- that is, detentions -- and of the "legitimate concerns of minorities, particularly Tamils."

   UK-based banks HSBC and Standard Chartered both gushed about the IMF loan, without any reference to ongoing internments. The IMF loan "is a significant positive for Sri Lanka’s external liquidity position and should further boost sentiment toward the country," Standard Chartered’s Mumbai-based analyst Priyanka Chakravarty wrote in a research report. "It is noteworthy that the final IMF loan amount is appreciably higher than originally discussed."

Standard Chartered: "inspiration," ethnic cleansing not shown

   Nick Nicolaou, chief executive officer of HSBC Sri Lanka, pitched that "the IMF endorsement provides confidence to overseas investors... Sri Lanka has an excellent story to tell." Fellow UK bank Barclays, along with HSBC and JPMorgan Chase, was involved in the Rajapakse administration's October 2007 bond sale in the run-up to the final assault on North Sri Lanka.

   Now Sri Lanka says it wants to raise $500 million more from overseas. Some say that these bloodbath bonds are now ethnic cleansing instruments. Watch this site.

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  Click here for an Inner City Press YouTube channel video, mostly UN Headquarters footage, about civilian deaths in Sri Lanka.

Click here for Inner City Press' March 27 UN debate

Click here for Inner City Press March 12 UN (and AIG bailout) debate

Click here for Inner City Press' Feb 26 UN debate

Click here for Feb. 12 debate on Sri Lanka

Click here for Inner City Press' Jan. 16, 2009 debate about Gaza

Click here for Inner City Press' review-of-2008 UN Top Ten debate

Click here for Inner City Press' December 24 debate on UN budget, Niger

Click here from Inner City Press' December 12 debate on UN double standards

Click here for Inner City Press' November 25 debate on Somalia, politics

and this October 17 debate, on Security Council and Obama and the UN.

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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

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