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UN: Sri Lanka


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Exclusive: UN's Sri Lanka Report Cites Syria & Rwanda, Despite Haiti Claims Accountability

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive Must Credit

UNITED NATIONS, October 11 -- Since August Inner City Press has asked the UN to release its internal report on its failure in Sri Lanka in 2009 as 40,000 civilians were killed.

  First Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's spokesperson Martin Nesirky said that Ban would have something to say on it in September. This was a brief reference in his General Assembly speech.

  Then yesterday Inner City Press asked Ban's associate spokesperson Farhan Haq, who said "we will have, I think, more to say in, I believe, the days and weeks to come." Story here video here.

  Since a lesson supposedly learned by the UN from its inaction was to have the courage to speak, withholding the report seemed and seems contradictory.

  Today Inner City Press exclusively publishes here the UN's "Follow-up to the report of the Secretary-Generalís Internal Review Panel on UN Action in Sri Lanka," dated July 9, 2013 and marked on each of its mere six pages, "Internal."

The introduction says

"In 2009 the Sri Lanka crisis was a test. We failed it. It was - as characterized by the Internal Review Panel report that I commissioned - a 'systemic failure.' The challenges that plagued us in Sri Lanka were not new: they have been with us for many years and in diverse situations. They include failure to communicate evidence of impending crisis and lack of strategies to address serious violations drawing upon the full range of our diplomatic, legal and operational capacities. We do not always deploy and empower colleagues swiftly to address often rapidly changing circumstances, and back them up when they take risks. Lack of clear leadership at headquarters has resulted in mixed messages, reduced operational clarity and lost opportunities. Above all, we have not always been effective at getting Member States to reach agreement on concerted action."

  Even while admitting "systemic failure," this underplays the degree to which the UN was complicit in what happened: it pulled out of Kilinochchi, an envoy was sent who was perceived (we'll leave it at that) to just want the LTTE Tamil Tigers wiped out, so much that a ceasefire was never even called for.

  Since the slaughter, the UN has accepted one of the most involved military figures, Shavendra Silva, on the UN Senior Advisory Group on Peacekeeping Operations; this month, Silva's putative boss Palitha Kohona, also involved, took over the chair of the UN General Assembly's Sixth (Legal) Committee.

  So what was learned from the cited 1999 Independent Inquiry on UN Action in Rwanda and the 1999 review on the fall of Srebrenica?

  Syria is cited in, and explains, this "Plan of Action to strengthen the UNís role in protecting people in crises." The report says: "Today we are witnessing the agony of the Syrian people. That conflict is a test - not just of Member Statesí will to fulfil their responsibilities, but of the UNís ability to use all the tools at its disposal to make sure that people are protected."

  This may explain the report: while the Western P3 members of the Security Council, the US, France and UK, did not much or at all push Ban Ki-moon to "do something" about the slaughter in Sri Lanka -- the UK is holding its Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting there -- they are pushing, and hard, on the issue of Syria and ousting Bashar al Assad.

  So, now a UN report and plan for "Rights Up Front."

  The plan claims that Ban's UN "will also adopt an ĎArticle 99 attitudeí, and tell Member States what they need to hear (action 2). We must assert the UNís moral authority and put Member States in front of their responsibilities." But Ban so often takes his cue from the Western P3.

  What will be the next text of the UN needed to act without prodding from the US, France or UK?

The plan says the UN will "hold accountable staff, particularly at senior levels." But if the UN can't even admit and apologize for bringing cholera to Haiti, what does accountability mean?

  If Ban's UN allows its head of peacekeeping Herve Ladsous to openly refuse to answer Press questions about mass rape by his partners in the Congolese Army, where is the accountability? Now that farce has been reported this week in the UK New Statesman, here.

 This comes after the UN's Censorship Alliance tried to oust Inner City Press for its Sri Lanka reporting, then spied against it to the UN, click here for that; it is the new Free UN Coalition for Access, despite threats from the UN, now working to further open the UN.

  The report says "when situations of serious violations are not on the Security Councilís agenda, the Deputy Secretary-General to brief Member States."

  While DSG Jan Eliasson brings more credibility, why wouldn't Ban Ki-moon himself do such a briefing, as he does on chemical weapons?

  And what does Eliasson think, for example, of the refusal by Herve Ladsous given his history to answer questions on mass rape by his partners? Or is UN Peacekeeping so much run by France -- sixteen years and four USGs in a row -- that no one can or does say anything? We'll see. Watch this site.


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