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Sri Lanka Text Passes 25-13, Japan Abstains, Qatar & UAE Against

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNdisclosed Location, March 21 -- A weakened UN Human Rights Council resolution on Sri Lanka was nevertheless opposed on Thursday by, for example, Qatar and the UAE. Japan, which seeks a permanent seat on the UN Security Council, abstained.

  The resolution passed with 25 in favor, 13 against and eight abstaining. Compared to 2012 there was one more “yes” vote, and two fewer No's.

  Most of these who spoke before voting “Yes” went out of their way to praise the Mahinda Rajapaksa government on matters ranging from re-settlement to “infrastructure.”

  But what about accountability, including by the Rajapaksa family itself, for the 40,000 civilians killed?

  Their representative Mahinda Samarasinghe said there have been other human rights abuses since the 2009 Bloodbath on the Beach. The “no” votes of the UAE and Qatar, given their positions on Syria, were particularly noteworthy. How will Qatar's Al Jazeera cover this?

  When India began to speak, the audio system squealed with feedback. But ultimately India voted yes.

   When US Ambassador Donahoe spoke of working constructively with Sri Lanka, and Ireland for the EU praised the US for “reaching out” to Sri Lanka, it was difficult not to flashback to US Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia pressing the flesh with Shavendra Silva, sometimes called Mr Bloodbath on the Beach. Click here for Inner City Press coverage of that surreal reaching out.

  Sierra Leone, where limbs were cut off for at least ten years of civil war, acknowledged that Sri Lanka's conflict was more violent. But again, it was difficult not to compare, that Sierra Leone was and is on the agenda of the UN Security Council, but Sri Lanka never was.

  The role of UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon was dubious. His administration never called for a ceasefire. Most recently he accepted and then praised without releasing a whitewash report from Japan, after having accepted Shavendra Silva as an adviser on UN Peacekeeping, headed by the fourth Frenchman in a row, Herve Ladsous.

  At the UN in New York, Ban's UN Censorship Alliance, which still tries to call itself the UN Correspondents Association, held a screening of the government's war crimes denial film “Lies Agreed To” complete with commentary from Sri Lanka's Deputy Perment Representative Shavendra Silva and its Permanent Representative Palitha Kohona.

  After Inner City Press covered this, and Ladsous, the UNCA “leaders” started a proceeding to get Inner City Press thrown out, which resulted in it receive death threats from extremist Rajapaksa supporters. UNCA's Executive Committee members' response was, we don't care, it's not our fault, “don't conflate.”

Earlier this week Inner City Press' office was raided by the UN, without notice or consent, and papers searched. UNCA president Pamela Falk of CBS took photographs, which has still not been explained.

  The UN demanded that Inner City Press remove from YouTube a video it openly filmed -- in its own office -- after the raid. Is it any surprise how little this UN has done on Sri Lanka, including on attacks and disappearances of journalists? Watch this site.

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