Sri Lanka, UN's Ban Expresses Canned Relief as Opposition Candidate
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, January 27 -- As in Colombo, Sri Lankan security forces
surrounded opposition candidate Sareth Fonseka, in New York UN
Secretary General Ban Ki-moon appeared to speak to the Press before
heading on a trip to London, perhaps Cyprus, and Ethiopia.
of Afghanistan -- confirming his nomination of Staffan de Mistura as
his envoy -- Sudan and Haiti. Inner City Press asked, "do you
have any comment on the Sri Lankan election of yesterday in which the
main opponent, Mr. [Sarath] Fonseka, has been essentially detained by
the armed forces and is challenging the result?" Video here,
from Minute 13:18.
Mr. Ban had
chosen not to include it in his remarks, he had a prepared statement
on Sri Lanka, which largely dodged the question that was asked.
UN's Ban in Manik Farm internment camp on May 23, 2009
the Sri Lanka issue, I realize that the election has been quite a
hard fought one, as stated by my Spokesperson a week ago. I had been
concerned at the level of violence during the campaign. I am relieved
that the vote yesterday appears to have [been] relatively peaceful,
despite some violence incidents. The Election Commission of Sri Lanka
has declared the results, and I once again appeal for parties to
abide by the decision and rules and regulations, including addressing
any electoral grievances. I truly hope that all sides will see the
wisdom of acting with restraint and responsibility in the interest of
the nation. This would bode well for future elections and national
canned statement was only deployed in response to the question from
the Press, the UN's state media UN News put out a story headlined,
"Ban voices relief at relatively peaceful conclusion to Sri
Lankan presidential poll." One awaits Ban's letter of
congratulation to Mahinda Rajapaksa, whom he has described as a
friend. Watch this site.
* * *
Eve of Sri Lankan Election, UN's Ban Is Silent on Abductions, Grenades
and Forced Pro-Rajapaksa Text Messages
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, January 25 -- On Sri Lanka, the UN simply will not follow
through. Since UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's statement last week
about pre-election violence, grenades have been thrown at opposition
supporters, cell phone companies have been forced to send out
messages supporting incumbent Mahinda Rajapaksa, and media members
have been disappeared. But Ban Ki-moon has said nothing.
January 25, on
the eve of the election, Inner City Press asked Ban's spokesman
Martin Nesirky about these of these abuses: grenades, abductions and
manipulation of the airwaves with forced messages. Video here,
Nesirky has no
specific comment on any of these, but rather reiterated two previous
Ban Ki-moon positions -- elections should be free and fair and
violence is to be condemned. He noted that "we don't have a
presence on the ground for the election as such and therefore we are
not able to assess how the election will be conducted."
In Sri Lanka, UN's Ban pictured, virtual presence on the ground?
the UN was
asked to come and have a role in the election, to at least discourage
the worst violence and intimidation. Nesirky explained that Mr. Ban
had said "no," arguing that such an elections role would
require a General Assembly vote and would take too long.
January 25, Inner City Press asked about an upcoming election in
Sudan, and Nesirky's response was entirely different: that Ban thinks
the Sudanese elections are "crucial to the future of Sudan,"
and his "colleagues on the ground" will give "guidance."
apparently, there are no "colleagues on the ground," and
the election are less crucial. Watch this site.
Also on January 25, when the UN Mission in Haiti's principal deputy
Tony Banbury appeared by video link, Inner City Press asked him for
comparisons of the earthquake response in that country. Video here,
from Minute 32:28.
Banbury dodged the analogy of Myanmar, but instead
listed as UN successes the response to the tsunami in Aceh and in Sri
Lanka. But in the latter, much aid disappeared...