UN Secretariat Says Tamils Held
by "Force, Fear or Family," Monitoring of Camps Suggested
Byline: Matthew Russell Lee of
Inner City Press at the UN: News Analysis
NATIONS, February 9 -- Sri
Lanka was raised in UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's closed door
the Security Council on Monday, UK Ambassador John Sawers confirmed to
Press after the meeting. A member of Ban's staff, speaking on
Inner City Press that Ban relayed to the Council Sri Lanka's President
Rajapaksa's strident response to Ban's inquiry about civilian
"what civilian casualties"? He predicted that the momentum among
Council members for a briefing on Sri Lanka will result in a
session, perhaps without the Secretariat's involvement.
The issues, as the UN Secretariat for now says it
sees it, are to
protect the civilians in the remaining Tamil Tiger territory, to help
leave the zone of conflict. They are held there, according to the
by "fear, force and family." Some are family members of the Tamil
Tigers, and stay for that reason. The Tigers force some to stay, the
But, the UN now says, there is a concern about the
camps the government
has set up for civilians who leave the Tamil Tiger zone. Some call them
detention centers; there is talk of intimidation and recruitment of
The UN, the source tells Inner City Press, is thinking of suggesting
international monitoring of the camps.
UN's Ban and Sri Lanka's President,
monitoring of camps not shown
When Monday's session finally ended, the Council
Yukio Takasu confirmed on camera that Ban described the call he made
Delhi to Sri Lanka's president. When asked to elaborate by Inner City
Amb. Takasu referred to his response earlier in the day, about his
between two countries -- Mexico and Russia -- about the Council getting
briefing on Sri Lanka, reported here.
The spokesperson of one Permanent Five
Council member later on Monday told Inner City Press that Russia's
to Mexico's request for a briefing was "procedural," that the item
shouldn't be discussed at that time. We'll see -- watch this site.
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