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In End Rape in War Summit, Press Banned on Sri Lanka, Minova UNaddressed

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, June 11 -- During the UK sponsored Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict currently taking place, presentations by Yasmin Sooka who studied Sri Lankan Army rapes, and the 2009 White Flag killings, were closed to the public and the press. This follows the UN declining comment, particularly from UN senior adviser Vijay Nambiar, on Sooka's report.

  Inner City Press has obtained the program and puts it online here.

  Amid UN speakers at the Summit, one UN question that has yet to be answered is how the UN's stated Human Rights Due Diligence Policy applies to the mere two convictions for 130 rapes in Minova by units of the Congolese Army to which UN Peacekeeping under Herve Ladous still provides support.

   Ladsous refused the Press question on May 29, here, and UN Spokesman Stephane Dujarric has yet to provide an answer, despite the UN's envoy in the Congo Martin Kobler claiming the policy is clear. Is it?

  Rapes in Sri Lanka were the subject of a session at Canada's Mission to the UN in New York on May 6.

   Multiple sources tell Inner City Press that at the meeting, controversial Sri Lankan military figure, now Deputy Permanent Representative Shavendra Silva sought to deny the reports of rape by the Army.  He said for example that "certain organizations are propagating false allegations, they are repeated by different organizations and form an opinion."

   Soldiers under Silva's command were depicted engaged in war crimes in the UN's own Sri Lanka report; here is a story of Silva spinning at the UN, and some aftermath.

  At the May 6 session, Inner City Press is informed, Canadian Permanent Representative Guillermo Rishchynski spoke of a risk of further violence in Sri Lanka as none of underlying causes of conflict have been dealt with. He particularly regretted the harassment of civil society in wake of Navi Pillay's visit. (The Canadian Mission's spokesperson declined to comment when asked before the meeting by Inner City Press, saying the meeting was closed.  More has since been published here.)


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