Sri Lanka Media Is Burned Down, UN “Is Not Aware” of Petition
about Disappeared Journalist, Silent for 1 Week
January 31 -- As in Sri Lanka the office of Lanka-e-News was
burned down and the UN had no comment, nor would the UN on January 31
even confirm receipt of a petition from the wife of journalist
Prageeth Eknaligoda, disappeared on January 24, 2010.
year after the
disappearance, January 24, 2011 Inner City Press asked UN Secretary
General Ban Ki-moon's spoksman Martin Nesirky
is the UN's response to
of a Sri Lankan journalist believed to have been abducted a year
ago has urged the United Nations to help trace him, saying she
believed the government was complicit in the crime. Prageeth
Ekneligoda was critical of the government's conduct during its civil
war with the Tamil Tiger rebels, who fought for 25 years for an
independent homeland. Prageeth's wife, Sandya, handed a letter to the
world body's office in Colombo on Monday that accused the government
of having no interest in finding her husband.'
UN help? Does the UN have any response to this case, or the other
unresolved attacks on journalists in Sri Lanka, including those Ban
commented on but some say did not follow up on?”
week, Ban's spokesperson's office refused to even confirm receipt of
the question, which Inner City Press re-submitted each day. On the
morning of January 31, Inner City Press asked:
is the UN's comment and action on this
- 'the arson attack on Lanka-e-News
office located in Malabe, Colombo district... Benet Rupasinghe, news
editor of lankaenews.com, said his office was set on fire at around
2.00 a.m. by a group of unidentified persons who destroyed everything
in the office...“It is not in a possible state to continue website
operations,” he said. Last week priests and journalists appealed to
the United Nations to find Prageeth Ekneligoda, a Lanka-e-News
journalist who disappeared on Jan. 24 last year.'
UN confirmation of receipt, and response to, this petition
to the UN about the case of disappeared Prageeth Ekneligoda.”
answer or confirmation of receipt, Inner City Press asked the
questions in person at the January 31 UN noon briefing. Ban's
spokesman Martin Nesirky said “both are questions you sent by
email.” Yes -- but they were never answered or even acknowledged.
month Nesirky ended a briefing (on January 21) by saying
it would only take questions from Inner City Press if it “acted
appropriately” -- apparently meaning, no questions about compliance
with UN rules. Nor about Sri Lanka?
One year after Prageeth was disappeared, UN not shown
Nesirky said he would see if there's anything further on the burning
down of Lanka-e-News, that freedom of the media is vital, and that
“we're not aware of a petition being handed in.”
in Columbo, in the Canadian
Press and elsewhere. Major
press freedom organizations have spoken of it, just as another
belatedly prepares to speak out on the burning of Lanka -e-News. So
the UN under Ban Ki-moon is not aware of it? Watch this site.
* * *
Blocked from Sri Lanka, Visit Now Called “Not Essential"
25 -- After breaking the
news that the Sri Lanka
Panel of UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon was being blocked by
President Mahinda Rajapaksa's government, Inner City Press has
repeatedly asked Ban's Spokesperson's Office for comment.
since Ban on December 17 and January 14 told the Press the Panel
could go to Sri Lanka, Inner City Press every day asked who Ban had
spoken to before saying that, and what was said.
January 25, the
UN sent the following:
- Do Not Reply [at] un.org
Tue, Jan 25, 2011 at 12:02 PM
Your questions on the Sri Lanka panel
Inner City Press
about the possible travel of the advisory panel, we
have the following to say:
The Panel wants to engage with Sri Lankan actors
relevant to the question of accountability. A visit would be useful
but is not essential for the Panel to provide advice to the
Ban depicted in IDP camp
If the Panel
to engage with Sri Lankan actors relevant to the question of
accountability” why did they not even request to interview Mahinda
Rajapaksa and his Minister of Foreign Affairs G.L. Peiris, both in
the United States this week? Watch this site.
* * *
Blocked by Sri Lanka, Is Not Asked
About Ban's Claims: No More
UN, after moving to refuse to
Press questions about Sri Lanka, has decided to publicly
Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's Accountability Panel is no longer
slated to travel to Sri Lanka.
As Inner City Press reported on January 18, this is contrary to
Ban's December 17 praise of President Mahinda Rajapaksa's "flexibility"
in allowing the visit, and to Ban's January 14 answer to Inner City
Press. But the UN does not want to explain, or even be asked about,
these accumulating discrepancies.
On January 18,
UN insiders who insisted they not
be named because if so they would be fired or further marginalized,
Inner City Press reported
late on January 17 told Inner City Press that despite Ban's
statement, his Panel will now probably NOT visit the Island. Despite
Ban's December 17 announcement praising President Mahinda Rajapaksa's
'flexibility,' since then Rajapaksa's government has written to the
UN to say not only that the Panel should not come, but that neither
the government nor its Lessons Learnt & Reconciliation Panel will
speak with the UN Panel of Experts. It is expected now that
representatives of the Rajapaksa government will, in New York only,
speak with Ban Ki-moon's Office, not his Panel.”
news, Inner City Press publicly
about it at the January 18 UN noon briefing:
not go to Sri Lanka. That in fact
letters have been exchanged and that a letter from Sri Lanka says
that there’s no intention to speak to the Panel.
tell you is that Ms. Bragg’s visit it obviously a
humanitarian visit. It is not related to work of the Panel. It is
not. And I think that’s quite clear.
will she do with it, as a humanitarian
about humanitarian matters.
not about what caused the need to return?
... there’s some question about
the visas for an accountability purpose, what the relation of this
visa would be…
two are not connected. This is clearly a
humanitarian matter. Last question.
this out, making that the “last
UN's Ban & Nesirky in 2011: no questions allowed
next day on
January 19, Nesirky twice cut off Inner City Press from asking
questions at the UN noon briefing, claiming he would answer questions
put to him in writing.
Press posed a number of Sri Lanka
questions about the visas and Ban Ki-moon, none of which Mr. Nesirky
Nesirky walked out of the briefing room while Inner City Press was
still posing questions about the white flag killings in connection
article including the role of Ban's chief of staff Vijay
Nambiar, who has said he got assurances from Sri Lanka Permanent
Representative Palitha Kohona that those with white flags would not
of a reply from Mr. Nambiar, which has yet
to be provided.
Inner City Press at the noon briefing that
“I will take questions from you when you behave in an appropriate
manner,” and refused to take any more of questions Inner City Press
had prepared, including Sri Lanka and Ban's statements about his
Panel. Colloquially, this "sucked,"
quickly wrote about it.
in what is still labeled an “exclusive,” FP ran this quote:
Sri Lankan mission had initially indicated they would be amenable to
the panel meeting with it to make whatever representations it may
wish to make, but it seems now that such a visit has still not been
decided,' said a senior U.N. official. 'I am not sure if this is a
simple matter of the Sri Lankan side prevaricating. The panel is
nevertheless open and keen on any appropriate interaction with the
LLC. The Sri Lankans have sought to keep their interaction through
the secretariat, specifically the EOSG [the executive office of the
secretary general],' the official said. 'We have, however, been
asking them and the panel to deal with each other directly and shall
continue to do so.'”
but not only Ban's Spokesperson's Office, operates.
still unanswered, but repeatedly asked by Inner City Press publicly
in the noon briefings at which Nesirky on January 21 said he will
take no more questions from Inner City Press, is why Ban Ki-moon
claimed on December 17 that his Panel would go to Sri Lanka.
that time, Ban
went out of his way to praise President Mahinda Rajapaksa's
“flexibility.” Nesirky has repeated refused to answer Inner City
Press' factual questions about Ban's, his entourage and family's
contacts with Sri Lanka and Rajapaksa.
conference, at which Nesirky did not
take any questions from Inner City Press, Inner City Press waited at
the entrance to the briefing room and asked Ban why his panel wasn't
going to Sri Lanka, and minutes later published
Secretary General, you said your Panel is going to Sri Lanka,”
Inner City Press asked, “what happened?”
Ki-moon replied, “They are now working very seriously on finalizing
the dates of visiting Sri Lanka.”
City Press asked about “the government has said they can only talk
to the LLRC, that they can't investigate anything.”
Ki-moon replied, “They will be able to... They are now discussing
asked and wrote about the letters between Sri
Lanka and the UN which contradict what Ban has said, and after
Nesirky said he will not take any more questions from Inner City
Press, a “senior UN official” issues the above-quoted, without
any reference to Ban's December 17 (and January 14) claims. Watch