Statement Minimizing UN Panel Done with Buhne, As Kohona
July 12 -- When UN Secretary General issued a statement
on July 9 minimizing the mandate of the UN panel of experts on
accountability in Sri Lanka, the purpose of the statement was opaque.
Hours later, Sri Lanka government minister Wimal Weerawansa called
off his “hunger strike to the death” a mere two days in.
July 12, Inner
City Press asked Ban's Associate Spokesperson Farhan Haq if the
statement was negotiated with Sri Lanka's Rajapaksa government to
provide ground cover for Weerawansa to eat, and who outside the UN
system had been consulted before the final statement was issued.
indirectly, saying that the statement merely reiterated prior Ban
Ki-moon pronouncements. Then why issue it?
accountability, Ban's July 9 statement says that “the United
Nations recognizes that the responsibility in this regard is that of
the Government of Sri Lanka.” It does not even say “in the first
the purpose of the panel is, or was, to advise Ban on whether the
Rajapaksas' “Lessons Learnt” mechanism is enough. But Ban did not
say that. Nor did he call for visas for the panel members to visit
Spokesman Farhan Haq said, without limitation, that the statement was
produced “in discussion with the Resident Coordinator, who thought
it would be helpful.” Haq did not say with whom Buhne has
asked if Buhne will be made available for Press questions while he is
in New York. Haq replied that Buhne is “arriving today” and is
“finishing up his time;” Haq said he was “not sure if he will
be available for a briefing.” Video here,
from Minute 20:42.
Fire at UN in Sri Lanka, (call for) visas for UN panel not shown
Lanka'a Permanent Representative to the UN Palitha Kohona appeared at
1 p.m. on Monday at a commemoration
of the genocide, allowed by the
UN, in Srebrenica in 1995. While Ban spoke of accountability --
word again -- Kohona chatted up US Deputy Permanent Representative
declined questions, spoke with other Ambassadors, Kohona spoke
amiably with UN Under Secretary General Sha Zukang, and then more
heatedly to USG for Public Information Kiyotaka Akasaka. This
conversation continued after all the other Ambassadors had left,
right to the turnstiles to leave the General Assembly building. What
could Kohona have been lobbying about? Watch this site.
* * *
Remembered at UN, Uzbeks of Kyrgystan Forgotten, Sri Lanka Lobbying
July 12 -- The UN commemorated the 15th anniversary of the
Srebrenica massacre on Monday, as above Srebrenica itself a memorial
points the finger at the UN's role in the genocide.
“The UN has to
accept responsibility for not doing enough,” said President of the
General Assembly Ali Treki, in a memorial ceremony featuring
Permanent Representatives of countries ranging from Georgia through
Ghana, India and Kazakhstan to Sri Lanka.
Secretary General Ban Ki-moon put it differently, saying that the UN
made “errors of judgment.” One wondered what he would say about
Ban Ki-moon spoke of accountability. Earlier on
Monday, the International Criminal Court issued a supplemental
indictment of Sudan's Omar al Bashir, for genocide. Mr. Ban sent both
of his two top envoys to Sudan to Bashir's re-inauguration ceremony
earlier this year.
ceremony, Inner City Press and a long time Balkan reporter called out
to Mr. Ban, wanting to ask about the UN's invocation of immunity
against lawsuits by the mothers of Srebrenica.
Mr. Ban said, politely it must be and was said. In his wake, the
Permanent Representative of
Sri Lanka, facing accusations of war crimes, lobbied a UN Under
Secretary General. There was no discussion of UN action and inaction
on the case
of the ethnics Uzbeks.
UN's Ban and a USG commemorating a genocide, Q&A
Back on July 2, Inner City Press
Press: can I ask about Kyrgyzstan? The French Minister for
Human Rights, Mr. [inaudible], has said that he believes that what
happened in southern Kyrgyzstan was a crime against humanity and
should be investigated. I just wonder, obviously the
Secretary-General has various forms of inquiries and proposals for
inquiries outstanding. What’s the UN’s actual estimate of how
many people were killed in southern Kyrgyzstan? And also, is there a
move by the Secretariat to do anything beyond that in what seems to
be at least 200, maybe, Rosa Otunbayeva has said 2,000 killings that
were part of ethnic cleansing? What’s the UN’s follow-through on
Farhan Haq: In terms of our follow-through, we’ve
been detailing what we’ve been doing both at the humanitarian level
through efforts of UNHCR, OCHA [Office for the Coordination of
Humanitarian Affairs] and various others, and at the diplomatic level
through the efforts, among others, of Mr. Miroslav Jenca. And that
work on the ground is going on and we’re trying to do what we can
to bring the communities of Kyrgyzstan together again, and to
encourage community solidarity. As for the death toll — no, we,
the UN, do not have any death toll of our own that we would confirm.
Press: What I want to say is it seems like in many of these
conflicts the UN says all these things are all to the good, about
building solidarity or humanitarian response, but this word like
“accountability” has been used in a number of contexts by the
Secretariat. Is there any thought of, whatever the number is,
accountability for what took place? Whether it’s through Mr.
Jenca’s office or through the Secretariat, or is that not a part of
Farhan Haq: Well, I don’t have anything specific to
say about that at this point. Obviously, this is something that we
would study. The needs on the ground at this stage are very great,
and we’ve been focusing primarily on the needs of all the people
who have been displaced by the fighting that occurred. In terms of
the initial incidents, I believe my colleagues at the Office of the
High Commissioner for Human Rights have already made some remarks
about this. Whether there will be any further investigation, some of
that will depend on the attitudes of the parties on the ground. And
of course, this will also be something that we ourselves will
continue to look into, to see whether anything further is needed
Watch this site.