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Sri Lanka and the UK: Too Little, Too Late, Between Libya, the Gulf & Somalia?

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, November 17 -- Certainly the authoritarian nature of the Rajapaksa government in Sri Lanka became apparent to more people during the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting. Click here for longer analysis of the CHOGM from this reporter, on Beacon Reader, focused on the UN Secretariat's silence.

  But can it be said that the UK government, for example, was unaware of that government's slaughtering of civilians in 2009? At the UN in New York, Inner City Press repeatedly asked then Ambassador John Sawers, and when he came to the UN, foreign minister David Miliband.

  Then as now, the UK controlled the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs; Inner City Press put the question to John Holmes (who, during Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's "victory tour" to the north in May 2009 vowed to never speak to Inner City Press again due to it reporting his on the record comments about deleting emails from Tamils.)

  And so now when David Cameron and William Hague say they are shocked and will belatedly push for an investigation of the 40,000 deaths before March, how should it be interpreted? As a Permanent Five member of the UN Security Council, the UK is in the position to have done something - and didn't -- and to do something now. Will it?

  The UK's use of its P5 seat, even on agenda items on which it "has the pen," seems politicized. It has not drafted or proposed press statements when journalists have been killed in Somalia (compare to the recent rapid statement on journalists killed in Mali). This has yet to be explained.

This weekend, it has apparently not moved for a statement on the killing of civilians in Libya, on which it also has the pen. This also has not been explained; it goes beyond, and is more recent then, the cited Bloody Sunday.

Cameron left Sri Lanka and went directly to try to sell UK attack aircraft to the United Arab Emirates; some in Bahrain find the UK comments for human rights defenders in Sri Lanka belied by the treatment of similar defenders in Bahrain.

Will Sri Lanka, or the UK, act on this before or during March? Watch this site.


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