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Sept 24, 2013

UN: Sri Lanka


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In Sri Lanka Buddhist Nationalists BBS Attack Religious and Ethnic Minorities, US Report Says, UNvetted

By Matthew Russell Lee, Periscope, Video

UNITED NATIONS, May 29 – The new US report on religious freedom, out from under embargo this morning, has this to say about Sri Lanka: "Attacks on religious minorities continued unabated from the previous year. The National Christian Evangelical Alliance of Sri Lanka (NCEASL) documented 97 incidents of attacks on churches, intimidation and violence against pastors and their congregations, and obstruction of worship services. The Sri Lankan Muslim Council (MCSL) reported dozens of violent attacks on mosques and Muslim prayer rooms during the year, especially during Ramadan. Buddhist nationalist groups such as the Bodu Bala Sena (BBS, Buddhist Power Force) continued to promote the supremacy of the ethnic Sinhalese Buddhist majority and denigrate religious and ethnic minorities, especially via social media." That's from the "International Religious Freedom Report for 2017." Then there is the issue of Sri Lanka sending unvetted soldiers, some involved in the mass killings in 2009, to the UN as peacekeepers. See Inner City Press story, here. There are many ironies in the UN system; Syria becoming the president of the UN Conference on Disarmament seems one - and it has now taken place, as of May 29. Back on April 10 as the UN Security Council descended ever more into absurdity, with no fewer than three draft resolutions on chemical weapons in Douma, Syria failing on in a single afternoon, Inner City Press went to the US State Department briefing and asked spokesperson Heather Nauert about it. Video here from 32:03. Then on April 11, Inner City Press asked UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres' two top spokesmen, "Given what the Secretary General has said about the reported use of chemical weapons most recently in Douma, what is his position on, and what will he do about, Syria being slated to become President of the Conference on Disarmament in May?" Deputy Spokesman Farhan Haq replied to Inner City Press (while not responding to another UN corruption question), "On the disarmament question, our colleagues in Geneva have shared the following: 'We can confirm that, following the current presidency of Switzerland, the Syrian Arab Republic should serve as President of the Conference as of 28 May 2018 for four weeks. According to the Rules of Procedure ‘The Presidency of the Conference shall rotate among all its members; ... The rotation which began in January 1979, based on the English alphabetical list of membership, shall be followed.’  Therefore, the next State in the list after Switzerland is indeed the Syrian Arab Republic. It is to be noted that only the Member States of the Conference on Disarmament can take decisions about their Rules of Procedure including with regard to their rotating Presidency.'"  Ah, leadership under Antonio Guterres....

From the US transcript: Inner City Press:  Matthew Russell Lee.


QUESTION:  Yeah.  So I wanted --

MS NAUERT:  Nice to meet you.

QUESTION:  All right.  I’m glad to be here.  I wanted to ask you, this is maybe – I don’t know if it’s in your binder or not, if – two things I wanted to ask.  One has to do with Syria’s set to the president of the Conference on Disarmament of the UN.

MS NAUERT:  Mm-hmm, I saw that.

Inner City Press:  And Robert Wood, your – yeah, your ambassador said --

MS NAUERT:  Ironic, right?

Inner City Press:  Yeah, highly ironic. [Wood said] they’re un – not qualified.  I wanted to know:  Do you have any ideas yet what that will mean?  Will the U.S. walk out?  Will they not participate?  And I have one other question for you.

MS NAUERT:  Okay.  I’m certainly aware of that story and that story taking place.  That would be an outrage if Syria were to take control of that.  We have seen these types of things happen at the United Nations before where suspicious countries, which countries that run against everything that an individual committee should stand for, will then head up that committee.  I haven’t spoken to Ambassador Haley about that and what she may or may not do, so I don’t want to get ahead of any decisions she might make.

  At least some response - on the same day, the UN refused to answer a single one of Inner City Press' three questions, after having evicted and still restricting Inner City Press. We will continue to cover this. For now, this Periscope video just after the State Department briefing. Watch this site.


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