UNITED NATIONS, September 5 -- When Navi Pillay wrapped up her visit to Sri Lanka, she spoke of "the harassment andintimidation of a number of human rights defenders, at least two priests, journalists, andmany ordinary citizens... people in villages and settlements in the Mullaitivu area werevisited by police or military officers [and were] subsequently questioned."
The next work day at the UN was September 3, and Inner City Press wanted to ask theUN about this. But the
Upon hearing of the cancellation, Inner City Press
is UN country team aware of, and what is UN doing about, report of Sri Lanka governmentharassment of those who met or tried to meet with UN High Commissioner Pillay, inclulding but not limited toVeerasan Yogeswaran, who runs the Centre for Promotion and Protection of Human Rights, saidfive or six plainclothes policemen visited him at midnight and before dawn at his home inTrincomalee, just hours after the meeting with Pillay.
Unlike other questions, for 24 hours the UN did not answer. So at the September 4noon briefing, and on behalf of the new Free UN Coalition for Access, Inner City Pressasked both why the noon briefing had been canceled, and about Sri Lanka.
Ban's spokesperson Farhan Haq said, as if a tautology is an explanation, that when Banhas a press encounter, the noon briefing gets canceled. Even if Ban takes only twoquestions? Again, why?
On Pillay's statement and the harassment, Haq made a generic comment about it, usingPillay's full first name and say "we may have" more in the future. Sure hope so.