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At UN on Sri Lanka, After Delayed Petrie Report, Now Muddled Launch

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, November 13 -- While the UN has tried to sweep under the carpet its inaction and worse during the killing of tens of thousands of civilians in Sri Lanka in 2009, the thread they couldn't make go away was the report on the UN's own performance.

  They tried: after it was assigned to outgoing UN official Thoraya Obaid in September 2011, no more was publicly heard about it until Inner City Press repeatedly asked about its status.

  Then it was belatedly disclosed that Obaid never did the study, that it had been reassigned to another outgoing (and now moonlighting) UN official, Charles Petrie. It was said it would be done in July.

   Last month in October, Inner City Press asked the Office of the Spokesperson for Secretary General Ban Ki-moon when will the "Petrie report be finished? What (three?) other people worked on it? Has anyone in the Secretariat or the SG seen it? Will it be released? When?"

   These questions have yet to be answered. Last week, Inner City Press was told -- not by a source currently working for the UN -- that Charles Petrie would be in New York from November 12, to meet with Ban Ki-moon and present the report to him.

  On November 7, Inner City Press asked senior staff of the UN Office on Genocide Prevention and the Responsibility to Protect, Gillian Kitley, about the Petrie report on the UN in Sri Lanka. She said she hadn't seen it, and did not respond when asked to ensure that it official be made public.

   But at the beginning of Monday, Petrie was not on Ban's schedule, and Ban's deputy Jan Eliasson is out of town. Nor is Petrie on Ban's schedule for Tuesday.

  Meanwhile, a copy Petrie calls "penultimate" is today out, of which former Secretary General Kofi Annan's spokesman Edward Mortimer and Sri Lanka Campaign chairman says "I fear this report will show the UN has not lived up to the standards we expect of it."

   Not only did the UN pull out, and then conceal casualty figures -- the coverup and breakdown was systemic afterward, in terms of messaging in the UN and Ban Ki-moon and his Peacekeeping chief accepting one of the responsible Generals, Shavendra Silva, as a UN Senior Advisor on Peacekeeping.

  Ban told Inner City Press this was a decision of member states; Ladsous refused to answer any Press question on this or any other topic, protection of civilians or otherwise. Now this. Watch this site.

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