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Sept 24, 2013

UN: Sri Lanka


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At UN, Sri Lanka's Rajapaksa Praises Ban's Visit, Slams HRC, Is Protested

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, September 25 -- When Sri Lankan president Mahinda Rajapaksa read out a speech to the UN General Assembly on September 24, he attacked the UN Human Rights Council inquiry into war crimes, while praising Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's visit in May 2009 right after the UN-dubbed "bloodbath on the beach."

  Rajapaksa called Sri Lanka an "unfortunate victim of ill-conceived agendas of some in the Human Rights Council." He bragged about the "visit of UN Secretary General  to Sri Lanka, just a week after the conclusion of the conflict." (In fairness we are using the quote from the written statement; Rajapaksa actually called Ban "Secretary General TO Sri Lanka," perhaps a Freudian slip.)

 Rajapaksa bragged about heading the Commonwealth, but on the way into the UN on September 24, the Permanent Representative of a Commonwealth country told Inner City Press Sri Lanka heading the Commonwealth had been a mistake.

  In his conclusion, Rajapaksa used a quote from the Buddha; in the Sri Lanka (government) context it was hard not to think of the extremist BBS monks. One reader has tweeted that it's as unfair as blaming all Christians for Christian extremists; despite government links to BBS, we think it's worth including this position here.)

  Earlier on September 24 on 47th Street there was a protection of Rajapaksa's visit, tweeted photo here.

 Back on August, while the UN says it will be investigating Sri Lanka war crimes, and the government of Mahinda Rajapaksa has said it will no allow the investigators in,  Inner City Press asked UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric what precedents or procedures the UN has for protecting witnesses, those giving information to this inquiry? Video here.

  Dujarric said he would look into precedents, and we'll look forward to that. But already, when Inner City Press and others raised concerns that the email submission procedures for the inquiry does not involve encryption, nothing has yet been done. It still should be.


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