Inner City Press

Inner City Press -- Investigative Reporting From the Inner City to Wall Street to the United Nations

These reports are usually available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis

  Search Search WWW (censored?)

In Other Media-eg Nigeria, Zim, Georgia, Nepal, Somalia, Azerbaijan, Gambia Click here to contact us     .

Home -

These reports are usually available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis


Subscribe to RSS feed

Video (new)

Reuters AlertNet 8/17/07

Reuters AlertNet 7/14/07

Support this work by buying this book

Click on cover for secure site orders

also includes "Toxic Credit in the Global Inner City"




Bank Beat

Freedom of Information

How to Contact Us

On Sri Lanka, UN Meeting Called One-Off, UK Makes No Proposals, Holmes Differs from Ban

Byline: Matthew Russell Lee of Inner City Press at the UN: News Analysis

UNITED NATIONS, February 27 -- After the Security Council's closed-door meeting on Sri Lanka, Council president Yukio Takasu emerged to tell the Press that that conflict, in which more than 2000 civilians have been killed so far this year, will not be a Council agenda item going forward. Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin, even before the meeting began, called the briefing by UN humanitarian chief John Holmes a "one-time" event. Video here, from Minute 6:45.

  While in London UK Foreign Minister David Miliband spoke about publicly about a strategy of proposing a Council resolution on Sri Lanka, in New York UK Ambassador John Sawers did not even propose a Presidential Statement. He left the Council stakeout after taking a single question, ignoring Inner City Press' question about what Minister Miliband had said. By contrast, even knowing albeit late that it would be vetoed, the UK and U.S. put forward a sanctions resolution on Zimbabwe last year. (US Ambassador Susan Rice was not at Friday's meeting, and no US representative came to the stakeout to speak.)

  Inner City Press has obtained a copy of Holmes prepared remarks to the Council's closed-door session, and puts it online here. Whereas Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on February 23 called for a suspension of fighting and for political discussions to bring an end to the conflict, Holmes on February 27 spoke of tackling underlying political issues only "after the end of the fighting."
  It appears that the UN Secretariat's public call is undermined by a more private green light to the Sri Lankan military's offensive in north Sri Lanka.

   Holmes also dodged the question of whether UN money would be use for camps the Sri Lankan government in building in which Tamil people who flee the bombs in the conflict zone would be detained until at least the end of 2009. Inner City Press also asked Japan's Takasu, who had mentioned international humanitarian law, about the camps, and his lengthy answer did not address the legality of the planned detentions. Video here, from Minute 6:25. Nor did he answer whether it is the government which is keeping media from covering the conflict. (While under no restriction, at the post-meeting stakeout interviews, while Bloomberg News was there, other wires including UK-based Reuters were not present.)

When both in New York, UK's Miliband and Sawers, Sri Lanka proposals not shown

  Inner City Press asked Holmes about reports that he used the Sri Lankan government's Minister of Resettlement as his translator. Holmes admitted that this happened, then said "you should credit me with enough intelligence" to assess what people told me, surrounded by the military's armed guards. But locals say that while a woman spoke of her son abducted by the Army, Holmes was told she'd said her son was killed by the Tamil Tigers or LTTE.

  Holmes told the Council of various assurances the government gave him. But when Inner City Press asked if he had proof the government has stopped using heavy weapons, he admitted he did not. He went on, as he did but only initially in Gaza, to note that it is "hard to distinguish civilian and LTTE cadres." Video here, from Minute 4:30.

    In fact, Medecins Sans Frontieres / Doctors Without Borders put out of field report of February 26 describing how a " family spent days in a bunker without food and water. Out of desperation, and despite the shelling, they left their bunker to get some food when three out of her 15 family members were killed on the spot."  This is the situation which the UN's humanitarian operation is, some say, glossing over, because of politics in the Security Council.

  Inner City Press asked outgoing Council president Takasu about these politics, to explain why for example in Sudan the Council does not demand that the Justice and Equality Movement, which recruited child soldiers and used them in an assault on Omdurman last year, lay down its arms before urging Khartoum to refrain for retaking rebel held land and negotiating with JEM. Takasu tried to say that the Council's approach to Darfur and Sri Lanka is consistent. Video here, from 14:13. 

  Why, Inner City Press, is Sudan then on the Council's agenda, and Sri Lanka is not? The answer is politics.  This topic is explored on an online debate, following-up on the one linked-to below, that will go online this weekend.

Click here for Feb. 12 debate on Sri Lanka

Click here for Inner City Press' Jan. 16, 2009 debate about Gaza

Click here for Inner City Press' review-of-2008 UN Top Ten debate

Click here for Inner City Press' December 24 debate on UN budget, Niger

Click here from Inner City Press' December 12 debate on UN double standards

Click here for Inner City Press' November 25 debate on Somalia, politics

Click here for Inner City Press Nov. 7 debate on the war in Congo

Watch this site, and this Oct. 2 debate, on UN, bailout, MDGs

and this October 17 debate, on Security Council and Obama and the UN.

* * *

These reports are usually also available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis.

Click here for a Reuters AlertNet piece by this correspondent about Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army. Click here for an earlier Reuters AlertNet piece about the Somali National Reconciliation Congress, and the UN's $200,000 contribution from an undefined trust fund.  Video Analysis here

Feedback: Editorial [at]

UN Office: S-453A, UN, NY 10017 USA Tel: 212-963-1439

Reporter's mobile (and weekends): 718-716-3540

  Search  Search WWW (censored?)

Other, earlier Inner City Press are listed here, and some are available in the ProQuest service, and now on Lexis-Nexis.

            Copyright 2006-08 Inner City Press, Inc. To request reprint or other permission, e-contact Editorial [at] -