Lanka Burns UN Ban in Effigy, Some NAM Members Abandon It, UN In
Disarray, Kohona Dressed Down
July 6 -- In the wake of the government
sponsored or allowed
hostage taking of UN staff in Colombo, Inner City Press on Tuesday
asked the Permanent Representative to the UN of a major South Asian
country if he still supported Sri
Lanka's requested Non Aligned
Movement statement opposing the UN's war crimes panel.
stay out of it now, the Permanent Representative said. He and his
Deputy expressed disgust at the Rajapaksas allowing hostage taking at
the UN compound, and the burning of the Secretary General in effigy.
Very stupid, the Deputy called it.
City Press late Tuesday asked several senior UN advisers about the
hostage taking, they appeared ill informed and in disarray. One of
the “Conspirators” portrayed on a sign board in Colombo only
asked, “Did they spell my name right?” and thought that the
dressing down of Sri Lankan Permanent Representative Palitha Kohona
was back on
the scene on Tuesday, in the General Assembly Hall to hear Queen
Elizabeth II's speech. Afterward he walked desperately through the
hall, looking for hands to shake. They were few and far between. When
your government allows the burning of the Secretary General in
effigy, it tends to go this way. Ask Omar al Bashir, who still takes
Ban Ki-moon's calls.
day's end the
question was, why hadn't Ban Ki-moon yet tried to call the
Rajapaksas? Did he think they would not answer?
Siege of UN in Colombo, draft NAM
statement not shown
Was it beneath
since he was the one burned in effigy? He will meet on Wednesday with
Benyamin Netanyahu. And we will try to be there. Watch this site.
City Press has obtained,
and now puts online as a public
service, the NAM draft as of June 30. Click here
to view. It is
obvious how paragraph 4 conflicts with what's being asked of Ban
about the Gaza flotilla attack.
is a well recognized international norm that in situations where
there are allegations or breaches of international law that the
country concerned should in the first instance be allowed to conduct
its own investigation and to make known its findings.”
miscalculation by Sri Lanka.
Watch this site.
* * *
Sri Lanka Hostage Taking of its Staff, Ban Has Not Called
July 6 -- The UN continued
running scared of Sri Lanka's
Rajapaksa, even after its staff in Colombo were held hostage by a
led by a minister in Rajapaksa's government, Wimal Weerawansa.
Inner City Press asked the Associate Spokesman for UN Secretary General
Ki-moon, Farhan Haq, what he made of Weerawansa's
cell phone call to
Gotabaya Rajapaksa, after which police pulled back and allowed the
mob to continue to trap UN staff. Video here,
from Minute 6:28.
dispute or deny the call, responding rather that the “bottom line”
was that late in the day, staff were able to leave, while the mob
remained in front of the UN building.
repeated spoke of
contacts with and assurances from “officials to the highest level,”
the highest he listed was the (non-Rajapaksa) Prime Minister speaking
with the UN's local representative Neil Buhne.
himself, Inner City Press asked, be speaking with Mahinda Rajapaksa?
“At this stage I don't have anything to say about the Secretary
General making any such calls,” Haq replied.
On part of demonstation, UN's Ban phone call not shown
returned from Montego Bay, Jamaica. At 10:30 on Tuesday he had a
meeting with the head of the UN Mission in Afghanistan, then nothing
listed until 2:50 p.m..
hostage taking of UN staff is not important enough? When it takes
place in Sri Lanka? Watch this site.
* * *
Minister and Mob Hold UN Staff Hostage, Ban Remains Silent
July 6 -- The UN's compound in Colombo has been surrounded,
UN staff held hostage by a crowd led by Sri Lankan
minister Wimal Weerawansa. "We warn the U.N. to withdraw the
(investigating) panel if
they want to get the employees out,"
Weerawansa told the protesters.
siege came six
days after Weerawansa urged crowds to take UN staff hostage. Inner
City Press on June 30 and July 2 asked UN Secretary General Ban
Ki-moon's Associate Spokesperson Farhan Haq for Ban's response.
June 30, Haq
said Weerawansa's threat may have been misquoted, and was in any
event merely “individual.”
asked a very senior UN official about the threat and was told it was
a “Gandhian” threat.
July 2, when
Inner City Press asked why the UN would minimize a government
minister's threat against UN staff as “individual,” Haq claimed
that an apology might be forthcoming from the government and told Inner
City Press, "I will let you know if something like that comes through."
Weerawansa made clear he was not misquoted, and the threat was not
individual. Inner City Press published stories on July 3, 4 and 5.
Ban Ki-moon, in Jamaica, said nothing. Haq and his Office sent nothing.
July 6, UN
staff were taken hostage, and the Sri Lankan government did nothing
to stop it.
UN's Ban portrayed by Rajapaksas, staff as hostage not shown
called a government endorsed and protected action
against UN staff.
and some Sinhalese activists are calling on Ban to be “impeached”
for his belated and begrudging naming of a panel to advise him on Sri
Lankan war crimes, others including UN staff and supporters point to
other reasons: the inexplicable delay, and this failure to perform
the most basic part of the UN S-G job, to protect or at least speak
up for UN staff in the field. Watch this site.
* * *
Army Claims Dutch Ambassador Support Despite EU Human Rights Cut of GSP
July 5 -- As the European Union cut off Sri Lanka's
concession on human rights grounds, the Sri Lankan Ministry of
Defense claimed that EU member (and World Cup semi finalist) The
Netherlands “appreciates the diplomatic and strategic position
upheld by the Government of Sri Lanka with respect to the pressure
exerted by certain countries in connection with the internal
political issues of the country.”
was sourced to Leoni Cuelenaere, The Netherlands' Ambassador to Sri
Lanka in a July 2 meeting with Sri Lankan Prime Minister D.M.
Jayaratne, and was placed on the government's
web site and numerous
a strange position for an EU member to express, email inquires were
made with Leoni Cuelenaere, resulting in an electronic reply that “as
you can imagine, I said nothing of the kind!”
why, then, has
not The Netherlands and the EU more publicly sought a retraction from
the Sri Lankan Ministry of Defense and the other sites which have
carried and are carrying this presentation of The Netherlands'
Leoni Cuelenaere and
Gotabaya Rajapaksa, no correction shown
Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in Jamaica, he has said nothing about
Sri Lankan Minister Wimal Weerawansa's threat to take UN staff in
Colombo hostage. Ban's Associate Spokesman has said that Weerawansa's
call was only as an individual, despite his position with the
But now that Weerawansa
has said he was
officially speaking for a political party that is part of the
Rajapaksas' coalition, the National Freedom Front, one expects at
least a correction, and more substantively some defense of UN staff,
from the Secretary General. We're still waiting.
* * *
Panel To Include Steven Ratner and Yasmin Sooka of S. Africa,
Reconciliation or Accountability?
Lee, Exclusive Must Credit
21 -- On Sri Lanka war crimes, sources tell Inner City
Press that the three names including not only former Indonesian
attorney general Darusman but also American lawyer Steven Ratner, and
South Africa's Yasmin Sooka, who served on that country's Truth and
Reconciliation Commission, who was proposed by Ban advisor Nicholas
Haysom, also of South Africa.
these well placed sources,
and contrary to unsourced reports in the Colombo press, there will be
no Austrian on the panel.
criticized "victory tour" to Sri Lanka last May, during
which interned Tamil children were forced to sing for him in the
Vuvuniya camp, surrounded by barbed wire, Ban has hounded by calls to
follow through on his and Mahinda Rajapaksa's statement at the end of
March 5, Ban
said he would name a panel to advise him "without delay." Now, belated,
he is slated to name the panel this week.
Sri Lanka's banner of UN Ban, with gun, Vavuniya camps
Sri Lanka is
lashing out in advance, even as their ambassador to the UN Palitha
Kohona chairs an international investigation panel about the Occupied
Palestinian Territories. Can you say, hypocrisy?
also been named by Ban's chief of staff Vijay Nambiar as having
provided assurances that surrendering LTTE leaders would be treated in
accordance with international law -- before they were killed. Kohona
disputes the timing of his communications with Nambiar. Watch this site.
for an Inner City Press YouTube channel video, mostly UN Headquarters
footage, about civilian
in Sri Lanka.
Click here for Inner City
Press' March 27 UN debate
Click here for Inner City
Press March 12 UN (and AIG
Click here for Inner City
Press' Feb 26 UN debate
Click here for Inner City Press' Jan.
16, 2009 debate about Gaza
Click here for Inner City Press'
review-of-2008 UN Top Ten debate
Click here for Inner
City Press' December 24 debate on UN budget, Niger
Click here from Inner City Press'
December 12 debate on UN double standards
Click here for Inner
City Press' November 25 debate on Somalia, politics
and this October 17 debate, on
Security Council and Obama and the UN.
* * *
usually also available through Google
News and on Lexis-Nexis.
for a Reuters
AlertNet piece by this correspondent
about Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army. Click
for an earlier Reuters AlertNet piece about the Somali
Reconciliation Congress, and the UN's $200,000 contribution from an
undefined trust fund. Video
are listed here,
some are available
in the ProQuest service, and now on Lexis-Nexis.
Inc. To request
reprint or other permission, e-contact Editorial [at]