Ashton "Concerned" By Rights in Sri Lanka, On Election, No UN Ban
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, January 22 -- The European Union's new High Commissioner
Catherine Ashton appeared at the UN on Friday, and was asked by Inner
City Press about Sri Lanka in the run up to elections, and about the
GSP Plus tariff reduction program, whether the EU would curtail it
for Sri Lanka. Video here,
from Minute 4:05.
responded that, while she was Trade Commissioner, GSP Plus had been a
concern. "If we have a scheme, where we award the way we operate
directly because of... treatment of people and human rights, if that
falls short, it should be re-examined."
said that she
was "very concerned" and had recommended that GPS Plus
benefits for Sir Lanka "perhaps should be reconsidered."
however, comment on violence in the run up to the January 26
election, nor on reports that Mahinda Rajapaksa has required cell
phone companies to send out text messages supporting him.
if the UN's Ban Ki-moon had any view on the pre-election
violence and intimidation. Days later, Ban's spokesman read out a
statement that Ban remains concerned. But since the statement, a
major opposition supporter's house has been attacked with hand
grenades. At least five are dead and dozens injured. And from Ban,
EU's Ashton and UN's Ban: the former on GSP+, the latter now silent
wouldn't even allow a question on January 22:
City Press: Can I ask one more?
Nesirky: I’d like, actually, to see if there are others, and I
think I would ask Jean-Victor to join us. Just please do join. But,
one thing I did want to respond to was, you asked a question,
then gave an
answer on Haiti, the topic to which the UN has sought to confine
question for ten days now. And on and after the Sri Lankan election?
Watch this site.
* * *
UN, Sri Lanka Shooting of Opposition Draws No Comment, No
Investigation, Unlike Guinea or Togo
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, January 12 -- A week after the UN
went public with its
rejection of requests for assistance
to ensure greater freedom and
fairness in Sri Lanka's upcoming election, a bus load of supporters of
opposition candidate Sarath Fonseka was attacked by gunmen, killing
and injuring ten others.
asked the spokesman for Ban Ki-moon, who had said he was closely
watching to ensure greater political openness in Sri Lanka, if Mr.
Ban had any comment on the death political attack or would re-think
his decision for the UN to play no safeguarding role in the election.
from Minute 7:08.
United Nations Office for West Africa official Said Djinnit describe
the UN's work in Togo to "prevent violence" in advance of
that country's February 2010 election, Inner City Press asked why the
UN would be providing such help in Togo, but not in Sri Lanka which
Mr. Ban said he was concerned about.
Martin Nesirky said it is not a "good idea" to be "drawing
links between geographical regions."
the UN had made it
clear why it will not be providing observers or even technical
assistance in Sri Lanka -- these reason are that there was not enough
time, that a General Assembly vote was purportedly required -- and
that, since the shooting incident was recent, there was no UN
will there be
a response from Ban's UN in the future?
UN's Ban in Sri Lanka, waving, deadly attack
on opposition supporters not shown
commission of inquiry into the death of 157 people in Guinea in
September 2009, but none into thousands of killings in Sri Lanka.
But, notably, France pushed Ban to name the Guinea panel, despite
some opposition from Russia.
France nor the UK or U.S.
-- countries that could deny Ban a second term as Secretary General
-- have pushed for Ban to do more, and so he hasn't.
* * *