Inner City Press

Inner City Press -- Investigative Reporting From the United Nations to Wall Street to the Inner City

These reports are usually available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis

  Search Search WWW (censored?)

In Other Media-eg New Statesman, AJE, FP, Georgia, NYT Azerbaijan, CSM Click here to contact us     .


Follow us on TWITTER

Home -

These reports are usually available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis


(FP Twitterati 100, 2013)

ICP on YouTube
Sept 24, 2013

UN: Sri Lanka


FOIA Finds  

Google, Asked at UN About Censorship, Moved to Censor the Questioner, Sources Say, Blaming UN - Update - Editorial

Support this work by buying this book

Click on cover for secure site orders

also includes "Toxic Credit in the Global Inner City"




Bank Beat

Freedom of Information

How to Contact Us

On Sri Lanka, Tamils "Shame Ban Ki-moon" at UN As Pillay Report Leaks

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, February 15 -- As the Sri Lanka resolution at the UN Human Rights Council in March grows closer, the Sunday Times has excerpted High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay's report, see below.  Meanwhile on February 12 Tamils protested in front of the UN in New York, chanting "Ban Ki-moon, shame on you," under the watchful eye of a Sinhalese UN Security officer known to report to the Sri Lanka mission to the UN (he asked a photograph for his photos of the protest -- he refused). This is the UN.

   The same United Nations Correspondents Association which screened the Rajapaksa government's denial of war crimes, "Lies Agreed To" complete with speech by Shavendra Silva (here recounted in Italian along with Reuters' censorship) is set for another in its propaganda film series.

  Now, however, after UNCA tried to get Inner City Press thrown out of the UN, it is confronted by the new Free UN Coalition of Access, of which the photographer who refused is a member. FUNCA last week protested the withholding of any transcript of Ban Ki-moon's Q&A with UNCA; while Inner City Press covers and will continue to cover Ban's post Sri Lanka failure "Rights Up Front" plan, it appears that like Ukraine was not raised in UNCA's "secret" Q&A.

  The Sunday Times quotes Pillay:

"new evidence -- including witness testimony, video and photographic material — continues to emerge on what took place in the final stages of the armed conflict. Human remains also continue to be discovered, for instance in Matale in November 2012 and Mannar in December 2013. As the emblematic cases highlighted above show, national mechanisms have consistently failed to establish the truth and achieve justice. The High Commissioner believes this can no longer be explained as a function of time or technical capacity, but that it is fundamentally a question of political will... The High Commissioner remains convinced that an independent, international inquiry would play a positive role in eliciting new information and establishing the truth where domestic inquiry mechanisms have failed. In the absence of a credible national process, she believes the international community has a duty to take further steps which will advance the right to truth for all in Sri Lanka and create further opportunities for justice, accountability and redress. The High Commissioner reiterates concern about the continuing trend of attacks on freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and association, particularly against human rights defenders, journalists and families of victims; the rising levels of religious intolerance; and continued militarization which continues to undermine the environment where accountability and reconciliation can be achieved. She therefore reiterates and updates the recommendations made in her previous report to the Human Rights Council, most of which remain unimplemented."

  Back on February 6, Inner City Press asked UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's deputy spokesperson Farhan Haq if the Secretariat was aware of a new report from Australia, and when should happen next.
   Haq replied, video here and embedded below, that there should be investigation to find all the facts of what happened in the final stages of the conflict.

  Inner City Press asked, International investigation? In Geneva?

   Haq said that would be up to "different member states."

 Ironically, while the new report is from experts in Australia, now the Australia government which calls loudly at the UN for investigations into Syria has indicated it would not support a resolution for investigation at the UN Human Rights Council in March. We'll have more on this.

  As to the United States, from which Sri Lanka has blocked a diplomat's visa, the Rajapaksa government's lobbying lunch in Washington on January 28, reported on by Inner City Press, has so far been unsuccessful.

  On February 1 in Colombo, Nisha Biswal the US assistant secretary of state for South and Central Asia, criticized the lack of accountability, religious intolerance and even corruption of the Rajapaksas' Sri Lanka. But how strong will the resolution at the UN Human Rights Council in March be?

  Back on January 28 lobbyists for Sri Lanka's Rajapaksa government made a pitch on Capitol Hill. Registered foreign agents Thompson Advisory Group invited members of Congress and staffers to hear President Mahinda Rajapaska's chief of staff or Permanent Secretary Lalith Weeratunga and Central Bank of Sri Lanka Governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal (pitcher of bank mergers such as between NDB and the DFCC) at an hour and a half lunch in the Members' Dining Room.

  Former Congressman from Oklahoma Ernest Istook, the invitation said, would be helping them make the (impunity) pitch, along with another government video, "Sri Lanka: Rebuilding and Reconciling," narrated by a former CNN anchor, Gene Randall. Inner City Press obtained (or intercepted) the pitch and put it online here.

  At the US State Department's briefing on January 27, spokesperson Jen Psaki asked about the visit, and said she'd venture to send something around after the briefing:

MS. PSAKI: You had one on Sri Lanka?

QUESTION: I do, yeah. Apparently, there’s a delegation in town today, and they’re – one of the things I believe they’re talking about is a potential U.S. plan to sponsor a resolution in the UN Human Rights Council this March. I believe it has something to do with concerns about calls for an international inquiry into allegations of war crimes during their civil war. And so I’m wondering if the U.S. is planning some kind of resolution, and if the U.S. does support an inquiry for war crimes.

MS. PSAKI: I believe – I know I’ve seen that report. Let me see if I have anything on that in particular. And if not, I’m happy to get you all something on where we stand after the briefing....Unfortunately, I don’t have anything new on that here, but let us venture to send something all around to all of you.

  Inner City Press asked; a polite interim response was received. But as of February 1, no real answer, now to other questions submitted as well, including concerned the withdrawal of the nomination as US Ambassador to the UN on Management and Reform of Leslie Berger Kiernan. 

  At the UN, now-gone US Ambassador for reform and management Joe Torsella worked behind the scenes on the outrage of Sri Lankan military figure Shavendra Silva being accept by Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and UN Peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous as an advisory on peacekeeping operations. Torsella is gone, now his nominated replacement has been withdrawn.

  Inner City Press has submitted to the State Department a Freedom of Information Act request about the Administration's Atrocities Prevention Board -- expedited processing was denied, but responses and disclosures should be coming, surely, some day. Watch this site.


Share |

* * *

These reports are usually also available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis.

Click here for Sept 26, 2011 New Yorker on Inner City Press at UN

Click for re Libya, Sri Lanka, UN Corruption

Feedback: Editorial [at]

UN Office: S-303, UN, NY 10017 USA

Reporter's mobile (and weekends): 718-716-3540

  Search  Search WWW (censored?)

Other, earlier Inner City Press are listed here, and some are available in the ProQuest service, and now on Lexis-Nexis.

            Copyright 2006-2014 Inner City Press, Inc. To request reprint or other permission, e-contact Editorial [at]