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UN Admits Cluster Bombs in Sri Lanka, But Still Spin for Silva, Ban Silent

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, April 26 -- With news that the UN Development Program in Sri Lanka has found and confirmed via a leaked e-mail cluster sub-munitions, General Shavendra Silva as a UN Senior Adviser on Peacekeeping takes on an even more sinister hue.

  As reported, Allan Poston, the technical adviser for UNDP's mine action group in Sri Lanka, wrote that "after reviewing additional photographs from the investigation teams, I have determined that there are cluster sub-munitions in the area where the children were collecting scrap metal and in the house where the accident [the death of a child] occurred. This is the first time that there has been confirmed unexploded sub-munitions found in Sri Lanka."

  Sri Lanka's Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN, Shavendra Silva, during this conflict commanded the 58th Division, depicted in Ban Ki-moon's report as engaged in war crimes. Now, cluster munition. Still, Ban Ki-moon's position remains that Silva being Ban's adviser is "up to member states."

  The Sri Lankan Ministry of Defense -- and Urban Development -- on the same day as the cluster bomb revelation breathlessly reported that all 54 nations in the Asia and Pacific Group support Silva's continued service. To Inner City Press' knowledge this was not true even prior to the cluster bomb confirmation, and should be even less true now.

  Earlier this month, the Permanent Representative of an Asia Group member told Inner City Press, of Silva,

"the gentleman's appearance is not welcome. They have chosen to escalate, sending public letters, casting doubt on Frechette's integrity. It becomes a big story, and member states in the end will say it's unacceptable... No one knew who Shavendra Silva was. Once you began to publish the stories, we came to know. If we had known from the beginning of course it would never have happened. If they continue to push it, there would be enough delegates in the Asia group to say 'enough.'"

Ban Ki-moon's acquiescence in accepting an alleged war criminal as his adviser becomes ever more troubling. Now Ban is on his way to Myanmar, where he and his adviser Vijay Nambiar have already given their full blessing to the still military dominated government, even as Kachin people weren't allowed to vote and face repression. What will Ban do? Watch this site.

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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

Click here for Sept 26, 2011 New Yorker on Inner City Press at UN

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