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At UN on Genocide, Burying Sri Lanka Report, Rwanda's French Connection

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, November 7 -- It was a snowy Wednesday evening when the UN held a screening and panel discussion entitled "The Holocaust by Bullets: Uncovering the Reality of Genocide."

  The event was sponsored by the French Mission to the UN; the short but moving films were on Holocaust killings of Jews in Ukraine and of Roma.

  After the first film, UN official Gillian Kitley told the snow-limited audience that the UN's now combined Office on Genocide Prevention and the Responsibility to Protect advises Secretary General Ban Ki-moon of development in which mass killing may become possible.

  Inner City Press asked Ms. Kitley, what happened with Sri Lanka in 2008 and 2009, when the UN pulled its workers out of northern Sri Lanka, then concealed and denied casualty figures -- Inner City Press got and published a leaked OCHA count of over 2000 civilians killed in a short period -- and then didn't even call for a ceasefire.

  Ms. Kitley replied, "I understand there's been a very thorough investigation" into the UN's actions and inaction in Sri Lanka during that period, and that she'd be very interested to see it. But what about the public, to try to ensure that the UN does a better job in future cases?

  Inner City Press asked Ms. Kitley to have her Office and Adama Dieng, the Under Secretary General for Genocide Prevention (USG for R2P Ed Luck appears to have rather quietly left for an academic job in San Diego) inquire and urge Ban Ki-moon to make the so-called Petrie report on the UN in Sri Lanka public.

  Ms. Kitley did not answer the plea, and the event moved on. Video here, from Minute 1:03:11.

  Alongside the Holocaust, Rwanda in 1994 was repeatedly mentioned (though France's role in supporting the genocidal government, including in the Security Council where current UN Peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous was then France's Deputy Permanant Representative) -- and Syria was mentioned, by Ms. Kitley.

  Earlier on Wednesday Inner City Press was told by a Sri Lankan diplomat that its close coverage, for example of its recent Universal Periodic Review (#UPRLKA) is not fair, in that it took the richer UK 30 years to deal with its "Irish troubles." We report this in fairness; duly noted. But it is also worth comparing responses to events in Syria and Sri Lanka. We'll have more on this.

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