Inner City Press [ICP], a media organization that covers UN in-house and international stories, and which exposed the submission of the privately organized "Observation Project" report to UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon, said Sunday that in the first media question to Ban in Geneva, Ban "praised" the report saying that he "recognized through our meeting with them [the five ambassadors – Japan, Romania, Bangladesh, Nigeria and Sri Lanka] the important steps taken by the Government of Sri Lanka since the end of the conflict."
ICP questioned on the "steps" referred to by Ban when the report itself is not yet public.
ICP’s Matthew Lee said that he was "[r]ebuffed in getting a copy of the report Ban now replies on from the UN itself, Inner City Press asked one of the hand-over Permanent Representatives, who passed the buck to another of the Perm Reps. This PR, when Inner City Press asked on February 28, declined saying Inner City Press’ February 22 story had not been "friendly.""
ICP published the transcript of the full statement made by Ban, while a resolution on Sri Lanka is being passed in the UNHCR sessions:
SG Ban Ki-moon: I have consistently underlined the critical importance of addressing accountability in Sri Lanka through a genuine and comprehensive national process achieving national reconciliation. Last week in New York I have received the Japanese ambassador who led the accountability assessment mission to Sri Lanka where representatives of Bangladesh, Nigeria, Rumania [sic], Sri Lanka and a Colombia University professor participated in an observation project to Sri Lanka last December.
I recognized through our meeting with them the important steps taken by the Government of Sri Lanka since the end of the conflict and strongly underlined the need to address the remaining challenges particularly on issues relating to reconciliation and accountability. I highlighted the importance for the Government of Sri Lanka to work constructively with the international community towards that end. Thank you.
While the UN says that after its inaction in Sri Lanka while 40,000 were killed in 2009 it is now studying the “lessons learned,” Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on February 22 met with Sri Lankan Ambassador Palitha Kohona and four other Permanent Representatives to accept a quite contrary report, the ICP said.