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UN Slow to Answer on Sri Lanka Harassment Until Briefing With Censors

UN Slow to Answer on Sri Lanka Harassment Until Briefing With Censors

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Published by: Thavam on Sep 05, 2013
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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.
andembedded below.
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.
At the same noon briefing,another journalist, accredited with a Pacifica radio station and a member of the
, asked about depleted uranium and about the story by the former APstring based on interviews, that the chemical weapons in Ghouta came through Saudisources.
Before Haq could answer, another journalist in the front row who often speaks for theUN Correspondents Association tried to cut the question off. She was (and is) at the lefthand of UNCA's 2013 president Pamela Falk of CBS. FUNCA says this is not how it issupposed to work, establishment scribes silencing or purporting to answer the questionsof others.
at Minute 2:39.Worse, as soon as the briefing was over this UNCA spokesperson immediately went toUN spokesperson Haq demanding to know, "Who does she work for?"
willhave more on this.As regards Sri Lanka, when Inner City Press
(whichturned into a "victory tour" of the North), and published a
,Holmes response was to say "I will never talk to you again" and for his staff to file acomplaint with UN media accreditation trying to get Inner City Press thrown out of theUN.
This complaining to UN Media Accreditation was used in 2012 by the UN's CensorshipAlliance, after Inner City Press reported on the background to UNCA's screening, in theUN, of the Rajapaksa government's film denying war crimes. (
UNCA Executive Committee members from
, Reuters and AFP amongothers participated in the campaign; as
Stephane Dujarric an

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