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On Pakistan, Sudan Raises Drones, US Balochistan, Sri Lanka Spins Terrorism

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, October 30 -- The UN Human Rights Council, elections for which are heating up, allowed a mere 80 seconds per speaker on candidate Pakistan on Tuesday in Geneva.

  Speaking back to back, Sri Lanka wished the country best of luck in its fight with terrorism then Sudan raised the US of drone strikes, by the US.

  As UN system Special Rapporteur Christof Heyns responded to Inner City Press last week, this fight in 2009 killed some 40,000 civilians. Is this the luck being wished?

  Sri Lanka soon faces its own so-called Universal Periodic Review, but with even less time per speaker: only 72 seconds.

  On Pakistan, Sudan raised the issue of drone strikes, days after its Ambassador Daffa-Alla Elhag Ali Osman told Inner City Press his country would be filing a complaint against Israel with the UN Security Council for the bombing of the Yarmouk compound in Khartoum.

  The UN Security Council has been closed for five days: first for Eid and the weekend, now two days and counting for Hurricane Sandy in New York.

  Incoming UNSC member Australia raised Malala by name; Brazil offered some praise despite a glancing reference to "recent disturbing developments."

 Permanent UNSC member UK raised the death penalty; failed UNSC candidate Canada used its time to ask a question, about religious freedom.

  When US Ambassador to the UN in Geneva Eileen Donahoe took the floor, she said Pakistan has a vibrant media and raised Balochistan. She did not mention US drone strikes, which some believe she should have.

  The US is running to keep its seat on the Human Rights Council, and sent official Harold Koh to make its case at UN Headquarters earlier this month. Inner City Press asked about drone strikes, not only in Pakistan but also Yemen and Somalia.

  Koh said these comply with all international laws, a point about which Inner City Press asked Heyns, who is UN system Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary and Arbitrary Executions. He was less sure of their legality.

  But what is or can be resolved in the 80 seconds given on Pakistan? Or the 72 seconds coming up on Sri Lanka? Watch this site.

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