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Despite Sri Lanka Harassment, Tamils Win, Ban Withholds Report, Rajapaksa

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, September 22 -- While Sri Lanka's Mahinda Rajapaksa prepared to speak Tuesday to the UN General Assembly and presumably afterward meet with Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, who has for more than a month withheld a report on UN inaction as 40,000 civilians were killed in 2009, the northern provincial elections cast both in a different light.

  Despite harassment and militarization, the Tamil National Alliance won 28 or 38 seats in Jaffna, Kilinochchi, Mannar, Vavunia and Mullaitivu districts. They even won in the government-backing enclave of Kaits.

  This despite harassment such as this, reported by the Center for Monitoring Election Violence:

"Members of the public in Karainagar alleged that from 7.15am onwards, in areas close to polling station No.4 of J/ Karainagar Yarlton College (Hall no. 1) ; No.5 of J/ Karainagar Yarlton College (Junior Division – Hall No.2 ) ; No.6 of J/ Karainagar Yarlton College (Hall No.2) and Polling Station No.7 of J/Karainagar Yarlton College (Hall No.3) in the Jaffna District, men in plain clothes wearing sarongs whom they suspected to be Military Intelligence were preventing the public from entering the polling stations."

"At 9.04 am two persons had come to polling station No. 9 Sinnapoovarasankulam G. T. M. School in the Vavuniya District on a motorcycle bearing the number NP HS 7187 and been standing in front of the station for a long period of time. A group of youth at the polling station reported to the CMEV monitor who was at the site that they had gone to the polling station to cast their vote but recognised the two persons as army soldiers and therefore had not voted. The youth claimed that the two men had been there for over two hours and that many voters had come to the polling station but had turned back without casting their vote."

  So where IS Ban Ki-moon's report on the UN's inaction in 2009? In early August Inner City Press was told that Ban would have something to say about it in September. On September 20, Inner City Press asked Ban's spokesperson Martin Nesirky:

Inner City Press: in early August, you’d said that this report to the Secretary-General about the UN’s action and inaction in Sri Lanka in 2009 that he might have something to say on it this month. I understand, we are now in the middle of the month, but it is coming up to a pretty busy week, when do you anticipate…?

Spokesperson Nesirky: Well, you are very observant to note that it is the twentieth of September, and therefore, there are a few days to go. I would simply say: stay tuned.

Inner City Press: Is there a bilateral plan with President [Mahinda] Rajapaksa?

Spokesperson Nesirky: Stay tuned.

Okay - we're tuned. We have been for some time. Watch this site.


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