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Sri Lanka Lobbies at UN To Be De-Listed Despite Child Soldiers Recruited, Others Barred from School, Lanka's Inside Man

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive

UNITED NATIONS, February 4 -- Two months after the UN sent retired Major General Patrick Cammaert to Sri Lanka, his report on Children and Armed Conflict in the country was presented to that sub-committee of the UN Security Council, in a closed meeting in the UN's basement.

  The report, a copy of which Inner City Press obtained and exclusively puts online here, notes among other things the re-recruitment of children by a "commander named Iniya Barrathi who was part of the TMVP breakaway faction under Karuna's leadership." Cammaert recommends that that government take action.

  But in the meeting, a move was afoot to "de-list" Sri Lanka, from its one connection to the UN Security Council. During the bloodbath on the beach in 2009, despite tens of thousands of cilivians killed, Sri Lanka was never put on the Council's main agenda. A few meetings were held, informally, in the basement.

  Children and Armed Conflict, a committee of the Security Council, retained Sri Lanka on its list. It was in this context that Cammaert belatedly went to the country. His report also calls for wider accountability and investigations. But even the UN's Ban Ki-moon, who visited Sri Lanka in May for what many called a "victory tour," has not called for or begun any investigation.

The report has other examples of children still impacted. Cammaert writes of a "visit to the Poonthotam primary school [in Vavuniya]. Half of the classrooms are currently being occupied by the Sri Lank Army (SLA) to host adult surrenderees, disrupting the education of more than half the student population."

  With all this unaddressed, Sri Lanka's Ambassador to the UN Palitha Kohona was seen on February 4. He spoke to BBC, he was congratulated in the closed door meeting on Children and Armed Conflict. While he has been missing from the UN in New York for some time, he was still working, calling Ban Ki-moon's chief of staff Vijay Nambiar to try to get canceled a press conference on Sri Lanka by UN Special Rapporteur on Executions Philip Alston.

UN's Ban and Sri Lanka's Kahona, CAAC report and investigation not shown

Ban later distanced himself from Alston and his call that Ban start an investigation. Why cancel the Children and Armed Conflict meeting, if it was to be a venue for celebrating the bloodbath on the beach and lobbying to de-list Sri Lanka from this last UN list? Watch this site.

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On Goldstone, UN's Ban Files Only 4 Paragraphs of Observations, on Sri Lanka, Nothing

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, February 4 -- The Goldstone Report filing by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has been asked about for days at the UN. When it became available on the evening of February 4, it was a let down and, some say, a lie.

  The letdown part is easier to describe. Ban's submission is a mere 11 paragraphs, mostly boilerplate recitations, of which Ban's "Observations" comprise only four paragraphs. It is not even a cover letter, one involved source told Inner City Press. It is more like a fax cover sheet.

  The word "lie," when raised to Inner City Press, was directed at paragraph 9, which in full reads:

"9. I believe that, as a matter of principle, international humanitarian law needs to be fully respected and civilians must be protected in all situations and circumstances. Accordingly, on several occasions, I have called upon all of the parties to carry out credible domestic investigations into the conduct of the Gaza conflict. I hope that such steps will be taken wherever there are credible allegations of human rights abuses."

  Despite this claim of belief that "civilians must be protected in all situations and circumstances," during the bloodier Sri Lanka conflict in 2009, when tens of thousands were killed by air assault by the Sri Lankan government, Ban has not similarly called for credible investigations.

UN's Ban runs in Gaza -- from, some say, duty

  Most recently, when the UN's own Special Rapporteur on Summary Executions Philip Alston called on Ban to order an investigation of executions in Sri Lanka, Ban and his spokespeople went out of their way to say they have nothing to do with Alston.

  After Ban's 11 paragraphs are the submissions by Israel, the Palestinian Authority and Switzerland, each going up on the web site of the President of the General Assembly. Watch this site.

 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.

* * *

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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