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UN Mine Action Lacking in Myanmar, UN Scruples Lacking in Sri Lanka

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, April 4, updated -- While the UN talked Mine Awareness on Thursday, a country for which it has a full time envoy, Vijay Nambiar to Myanmar, has very little Action on Mines.

  Inner City Press asked a UN panel about Myanmar, and about UNDP turning over mine action to the Sri Lanka army, depicted in the UN's own reports as engaged in war crimes. Video here from Minute 14:34.

  The UN's Dmitry Titov, now on the Rule of Law, gave the historical view on Myanmar, saying the UN has been “trying to engage Myanmar” but “so far, has not seen considerable response.”

  UN Mine Action's Paul Heslop tried to put a more positive gloss on it, while passing the issue to UNDP: “There is engagement with the government with regard to setting up Mine Action Program,” it is at an “early stage” with “UNDP taking the lead.”

They passed the microphone, if not the buck, to Timothy Horner of UNDP, who said there is a “lot of confusion on presence of mines in Myanmar.

  On Sri Lanka, ignoring the war crimes aspect, he said that UNDP works on mines in 23 countries, has been up to 40. “It's all about capacity,” and said, and handing over to governments.

He acknowledged that “Sri Lanka hasn't signed the treaties,” but said it is responsible for the safety and security of its citizens.

  And how about those killed in the “Blood Bath on the Beach”? Don't expect to hear about this from UNDP. Or really from the UN, anymore. This has been a low point of Ban Ki-moon's time as UN Secretary General. Watch this site.

Update: Later on Thursday was an event about landmines featuring UN Peacekeeping's stonewalling chief Herve Ladsous, who has refused to answer Inner City Press questions about accepting Shavendra Silva of Sri Lanka as an adviser, about safeguards not to spread cholera as in Haiti, about 126 rapes in Minova by his partners in the Congolese Army. The MC was from DPI, which lets Ladsous spin on its UN Radio. Tick tock, tick tock. #Ladsous2013.

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