Home » Featured, News

As UN and US Work With Sri Lankan Soldiers in Haiti, UK Funded Study Downplays Carnage in Lanka and Congo

[Inner City Press, Thursday, 21 January 2010 10:28 No Comment]

Even as the UN speaks and double speaks about accountability and impunity following Sri Lanka’s "bloodbath on the beach," the UN in Haiti is working with battalion of Sri Lanka’s military, which overall has been accused of war crimes.

The UN’s Edmond Mulet, speaking to the Press by video hook up from Haiti on January 19, said that in Leogane, "we" — the UN — "have the Sri Lankan troops." Video here, from Minute 19:06. UN official Tim Callaghan, on press conference calls from Haiti, has described the US as working with the Sri Lankan battalion.

Inner City Press has repeatedly asked how the UN screens the supposed peacekeepers it accepts from Sri Lanka, without answer. Given the US State Department’s own Office of War Crimes report on Sri Lanka, by Stephen Rapp, one wonders what due diligence the US is using.

Meanwhile the UK, along with Sweden, Norway and Switzerland, have funded a story calls "The Shrinking Costs of War," which downplays the impact of civilians of wars in Sri Lanka as well as the Congo.

  Simon Fraser University Professor Andrew Mack, the author’s study, said that post Cold War conflicts are smaller and less deadly, and chided the media for only being interested when major powers are involved. Video here, from Minute 25:12.

The Sri Lankan conflict in early 2009 was undercovered by most international media. But in fact "major power" China had provided much of the weaponry, and the Security Council veto to block any discussion of the carnage.

Sri Lanka soldiers to Haiti, bloodbath on the beach not shown

Sri Lanka soldiers to Haiti, bloodbath on the beach not shown

The UK, faced with Tamil protests, said it wanted a debate, but accepted closed door basement sessions.

Later its then Ambassador John Sawers told the Press that while the votes were there to put Sri Lanka on the Council’s agenda — where it would still be — it was decided that unanimity of the Council, including for use on other issues, was more important.

On January 20, Inner City Press asked UK Deputy Ambassador Philip John Parham if the UK was happy with the findings of the study that it funded, downplaying carnage in the Congo and Sri Lanka. Parham said he hadn’t yet read the report, but that it might be useful.

Now there are killings in the run up to the snap election, belatedly commented on by the UN. China has gained access to swaths of south Sri Lanka, bringing in its own laborers and continuing its "String of Pearls" military strategy. The UK and US have backed down. France’s then Ambassador John Maurice Ripert repeated portrayed the slaughter as anti-terrorism. His successor Gerard Araud has not been heard on the topic.

  (Nor has Sawers’ successor Mark Lyall Grant, who alone of the Western P-3 has taken no questions at the stakeout yet this year. He speaks off the record to select reporters, like Araud with one exception.)

Ban Ki-moon has still done nothing, on UN Special Rapporteur Philip Alston’s call that he send a commission of inquiry to Sri Lanka. Pro government media there gloat that Ban "distanced himself" from Alston. That he did. Watch this site.

Inner City Press: Investigative Reporting from the United Nations

(For updates you can share with your friends, follow TNN on Facebook, Twitter and Google+)

Comments are closed.