On Sri Lanka, No Specific UN Comment on Censorship, Rights Up Front Sans LKA

By Matthew R sse!! Lee

UN"#$% NA#"ONS, Fe&r ary '( )) *hi!e Sri Lanka+s Mahin,a Ra-apaksa c!aims his go.ernment ,oes not &!ock we&sites, the Co!om&o #e!egraph says /an, shows0 ,ifferent1 At the UN, "nner City 2ress on Fe&r ary '( aske, Secretary 3enera! Ban Ki)moon+s o tgoing spokesperson Martin Nesirky if Ban or the UN Co ntry #eam has any .iew in this regar,1 4i,eo here1 Nesirky rep!ie, that he ,oesn+t ha.e a ,irect!y !ink to the Co ntry #eam, which wi!! &e reporting &ack, an, that he wo !, not characteri5e Ban+s .iew on this partic !ar matter )) this &!ocking from the "nternet1 B t, Nesirky contin es, genera!!y free,om of e6pression 7we consi,er .ery important,7 inc! ,ing free access to the *e& an, information on it1 /"t was har, not to compare this to the &anning from 3oog!e+s Search of an anti)2ress comp!aint to the UN Me,ia Accre,itation officia! set to &ecome Ban+s new spokesperson on March 89, c!ick here for that10 On Fe&r ary ': in a memoria! of the Rwan,a genoci,e, Ban &ro ght p his 7Rights Up Front7 p!an ) witho t a sing!e mention of the fai! re in Sri Lanka that !e, to it1 Can yo say, in ,enia!;

Object 1

As "nner City 2ress an, others reporte, ear!ier this month, UN <igh Commissioner for < man Rights Na.i 2i!!ay is ca!!ing for an in,epen,ent, internationa! in= iry into war crimes in Sri Lanka1 <ere are three paragraphs from her report, - st on!ine &y the UN to,ay, here
Mata!e, in No.em&er '98', an, Mannar, in %ecem&er '98>1 :'1 As the em&!ematic cases high!ighte, a&o.e show, nationa! mechanisms ha.e consistent!y

fai!e, to esta&!ish the tr th an, achie.e - stice1 #he <igh Commissioner &e!ie.es this can no !onger &e e6p!aine, as a f nction of time or technica! capacity, & t that it is f n,amenta!!y a = estion of po!itica! wi!!1 #he Secretary)3enera!?s 2ane! of $6perts an, the initiati.es taken &y internationa! non)go.ernmenta! organi5ations ha.e shown that witnesses are wi!!ing to come forwar, to testify to internationa! in= iry mechanisms that they tr st an, can g arantee their protection1 For this reason, the <igh Commissioner remains con.ince, that an in,epen,ent, internationa! in= iry wo !, p!ay a positi.e ro!e in e!iciting new information an, esta&!ishing the tr th where ,omestic in= iry mechanisms ha.e fai!e,1 "n the a&sence of a cre,i&!e nationa! process, she &e!ie.es the internationa! comm nity has a , ty to take f rther steps, which wi!! a,.ance the right to tr th for a!! in Sri Lanka an, create f rther opport nities for - stice, acco nta&i!ity an, re,ress1 :>1 #he <igh Commissioner reiterates her concern at the contin ing tren, of attacks on free,om of e6pression, peacef ! assem&!y an, association, partic !ar!y against h man rights ,efen,ers, -o rna!ists an, fami!ies of .ictims, the rising !e.e!s of re!igio s into!erance, an, contin e, mi!itari5ation, which contin e to n,ermine the en.ironment where acco nta&i!ity an, reconci!iation can &e achie.e,1 She therefore reiterates an, p,ates the recommen,ations ma,e in her pre.io s report to the < man Rights Co nci!, most of which remain nimp!emente,1 *here is the UN Secretariat on this; *hen !ast "nner City 2ress aske,, Ban Ki)moon+s office of the spokesperson sai, it is p to mem&er states1new e.i,ence )) inc! ,ing witness testimony, .i,eo an,
photographic materia! )) contin es to emerge on the e.ents that took p!ace in the fina! stages of the arme, conf!ict1 < man remains are a!so sti!! &eing ,isco.ere,, for instance in

#his UN remains shro ,e, in mystery, some say, worse1 After Secretary 3enera! Ban Ki)moon met with Sri Lankan @o th an, Ski!!s %e.e!opment Minister % !!as A!ahapper ma an, Am&assa,or 2a!itha Kohona on Fe&r ary 8(, "nner City 2ress on Fe&r ary 8A aske, Ban+s o tgoing spokesperson Martin Nesirky if A!ahapper ma ha, in.ite, Ban to Co!om&o in May for a yo th conference1 4i,eo here an, em&e,,e, &e!ow1
Nesirky sai, among other things that the UN is not in the ha&it of ,isc!osing what its inter!oc tors say1 /#he UN ref se, the re= est at the &eginning of '98B of the Free UN Coa!ition for Access for a rea, o t of e.en Ban+s si,e of his ca!! to the presi,ent of his nati.e So th Korea, an, its more recent re= est for a tape of Ban+s CDA with the &oar, of the Unite, Nations Correspon,ents Association10 Later on Fe& rary 8A, "nner City 2ress aske, A!ahapper ma himse!fE ,i, yo in.ite Ban to Co!om&o; #he answer was, @es1 Some ask, why wo !,n+t the UN - st say it; #o protect Sri Lanka;

Object 2

On Fe&r ary 8( "nner City 2ress atten,e, the photo op, as so!e in,epen,ent me,ia1 Before "nner City 2ress was spirite, o t of the meeting room, Ban aske, the Sri Lankan ,e!egation a&o t 2resi,ent Mahin,a Ra-apaksa1 See .i,eo here an, em&e,,e, &e!ow1

Object 3

Back on Fe&r ary F, "nner City 2ress aske, Ban+s acting ,ep ty spokesperson Farhan <a= a&o t Sri LankaE /<a=+s !ine 7whether there+s any wrong,oing7 was picke, p in the Sri Lankan me,ia, for e6amp!e here0
"nner City 2ressE " wante, to know whether the Secretariat has seen this report o t of a h man rights gro p in A stra!ia, essentia!!y saying that , ring the Sri Lanka e.ent, in the fina! stages

of the conf!ict, that there was a ,estr ction an, concea!ment of mass gra.es an, a!so that its &eenG on a !ist of co ntries in which mass atrocities are sti!! = ite possi&!e1 " wante, to know, gi.en the Secretariat?s interest in '99A an, this Rights Up Front pro-ect, what?s the response to this new st ,y; Acting %ep ty Spokesperson <a=E *e?.e ma,e it c!ear that there nee,s to &e more ,one to get at the heart of what happene, in Sri Lanka1 @o ?.e seen what the Secretary)3enera!?s reports on the sit ation ha.e sai, an, it?s c!ear that there contin es to &e a nee, for a!! the facts to &e !earne, an, for there to &e a st ,y of whether there?s any wrong,oing that?s occ rre, in the co rse of the fina! phases of the Sri Lankan conf!ict1 #he Secretary)3enera! has sai, that repeate,!y an, we contin e to ho!, &y that1 "nner City 2ressE An internationa! process; H st one fo!!ow) p, &eca se it?s &een a n m&er of years nowE "s a nationa! process sti!! cre,i&!e or sho !, it &e ,one in 3ene.a; Acting %ep ty Spokesperson <a=E U!timate!y, it?s p to ,ifferent Mem&er States to ,etermine whether there wi!! &e an internationa! process1 *e ha.e presente, information to them an, we?.e ma,e c!ear what we &e!ie.e is the nee, for acco nta&i!ity an, we re!y on the Mem&er States? - ,gment to fo!!ow thro gh1 So the c!aim is that Ban wants facts an, acco nta&i!ity1 %i, either come p in his meeting with the Sri Lankan minister an, am&assa,or; $ighteen ,ays after "nner City 2ress aske, a&o t the ,etai!e, report on Sri Lanka, there+s sti!! no UN Secretariat comment1 B t on Fe&r ary 8(, Ban Ki)moon thro gh spokesperson Martin Nesirky sai, he is 7,eep!y ,ist r&e,7 &y111 North Korea1 On Fe&r ary 8', #ami!s proteste, across from the UN, chanting, 7Shame on yo , Ban Ki) moon,7 watche, o.er &y a Sinha!ese UN Sec rity officer who aske, a photographer, mem&er of the Free UN Coa!ition for Access, for his photographs of the protest1 FUNCA was forme, after the &oar, of the o!, UN Correspon,ents Association screene, insi,e the UN the Ra-apaksa go.ernment+s fi!m ,enying the war crimes charges in 7Lies Agree, #o,7 which was not shown in the UN1 *hen "nner City 2ress reporte, on the past financia! re!ationship of Sri Lankan am&assa,or 2a!itha Kohona with UNCA+s then presi,ent, there were ,eman,s that the artic!e &e taken off the "nternet, fo!!owe, &y re= ests from within the UNCA &oar, that "nner City 2ress &e thrown o t of the UN1 C!ick here, here for a story from ear!ier to,ay, inc! ,ing a&o t the UN making it har, to co.er a UN peacekeeping a,.isory meeting in.o!.ing Sha.en,ra Si!.a1 <ere+s the UN+s rea, o t ) no mention of acco nta&i!ityE #he Secretary)3enera! met to,ay with <1$1 Mr1 % !!as A!ahapper ma, Minister for @o th Affairs an, Ski!!s %e.e!opment of Sri Lanka1 #he Secretary)3enera! an, the Minister ,isc sse, the importance of a,.ancing the g!o&a! agen,a for an, on &eha!f of yo th, an, the importance of yo th participation in efforts to tack!e ma-or g!o&a! cha!!enges, inc! ,ing nemp!oyment1 #he Secretary)3enera! ,rew partic !ar attention to the ro!e of the yo th in peace, reconci!iation an, en,ing .io!ence1 #hey a!so ,isc sse, the pcoming *or!, Conference on @o th, to &e he!, in May in Co!om&o, an, its potentia! contri& tion to the 2ost)'98I %e.e!opment Agen,a1 #a!k a&o t n,erc tting the mo.e towar, acco nta&i!ity &eing attempte, in 3ene.a in March1

*atch this site1

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful