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UN Protection of Civilians Goes Past 10PM, From Drones to IDPs

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, February 12, updated – The Security Council's “Protection of Civilians” debate Tuesday started late, after a session on North Korea, and went past 10 pm, with nearly all Permanent Representatives gone. Inner City Press stayed, through Sri Lanka and the Congo, Turkey and Qatar, all the way through to Bolivia.

Early in the proceeding, France's Gerard Araud praised the UN's use of drones and called for accountability. Some wondered, what about in Cote d'Ivoire, the killings in Duekoue and of Internally Displaced People?

Russia's Vitaly Churkin also praised the UN, or at least its mission in Afghanistan, for systemically counting the number of civilians killed. This might be contrasted, as Inner City Press has, to the UN hiring non-profit Benetech in San Francisco, partially funded by the US State Department, to purport to count the dead in Syria.

Tanzania's Permanent Representative said the international community and the UN failed in Rwanda. Later on, the DR Congo spoke mostly about the M23 rebels, blaming Rwanda. Inner City Press interviewed Rwanda's foreign minister, story here.

The Netherlands' Permanent Representative spoke about accountability, too, leading some to hearken back to the role and inaction of Dutch soldiers or peacekeepings in Srebrenica.

New Zealand stressed that even when the Council is blocked, action should be taken, citing only only Syria but also Sri Lanka.

When Sri Lanka's Palitha Kohona spoke, he railed against media fabrications. Afterward Inner City Press spoke with him, with a story forthcoming (now here).

Brazil's foreign minister Patriota also did a stakeout. Inner City Press asked him about Mali -- he called for action to get under Resolution 2085 as soon as possible, with Africans in the lead -- and Guinea Bissau. On that, Patroita said harmonization and cooperation had been less than ideal, but it should be better under new envoy and Nobel Peace Prize winner Ramos Horta.

Nicaragua's speech put it plainly: Resolution 1973 was used in Libya for the assassination of a head of state.

There were outgoing Ambassadors. India's Hardeep Singh Puri, set to retire from foreign service, criticized double standards in the protection of civilians. Belgium's Permanent Representative, too, is set to retire.

But the debate ended with two rounds of replies between Azerbaijan and Armenia about Nagorno Karabakh. Syria replied to Qatar, which had railed at Assad. Turkey did that but Israel killings in Palestine, too. As he spoke, Inner City Press at the stakeout was asked about it scoop of Palestine seeking a vice chair of the Arms Trade Treaty talks. Who is trying to block it? Watch this site.

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