Posts Tagged ‘Inner City Press’

In Sri Lanka, Red Cross Barred from “Interment” Camps Despite UN’s Rosy Picture

Wednesday, May 27th, 2009

[Inner City Press]

[Inner City Press]

While the International Committee of the Red Cross went public Wednesday in Geneva with the fact that the Sri Lankan government is running interment camps to which Red Cross workers do not have access, in New York the UN’s Deputy Spokesperson Marie Okabe said that “since the Secretary General’s visit to Sri Lanka, an interim measure has been agreed” in which aid agency vehicles including trucks are allowed into all Manik Farm zones, only not in convoys and not with agency flags. Video here, from Minute 2:30. Inner City Press asked Mr. Okabe to square to the two statements, if there are camps that the UN has access to that the Red Cross does not.

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Back from Sri Lanka, UN’s Holmes Admits NGO Killings and Restrictions Not Raised

Wednesday, May 27th, 2009

[ Inner City Press ]

Just back to the United Nations from Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s surreal tour of Sri Lanka, Inner City Press asked UK Ambassador John Sawers if the UN paying for interment camps for Tamils rounded up from throughout northern Sri Lanka compiles with international humanitarian law. Ambassador Sawers, rather than answer, said that there has been a “high level of attention” to the issue by the UN, by envoy Vijay Nambiar, humanitarian chief John Holmes and the visit of the Secretary General over the weekend. There’s been not report to the Security Council yet, Sawers said, we look forward to that and “we’ll have to consider steps after that.” Video here, from Minute 6:15.

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UN in Sri Lanka Admits 400 Killed, No Word from Ban Ki-moon on Visit

Monday, May 11th, 2009

[ Inner City Press ]

In Colombo, UN spokesman Gordon Weiss has acknowledged that at least 400 civilians were killed over the weekend in northern Sri Lanka. Weiss claimed that Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has been doing everything possible. But when asked, repeatedly, if he was calling for a cease-fire, Ban Ki-moon did not. Ban was invited, how ever cynically, to visit the country, and his spokesperson claimed that if he thought his visit could save civilian lives he would go. But he didn’t go, nor announce that he would. And over the weekend, the government shelled the conflict zone and killed 400 civilians.

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On Sri Lanka, UN’s Nambiar Resists Briefing the Council on His “Confidential” Trip: Is a USG Subpoena Needed?

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2009

[Inner City Press]

Despite having been sent as the UN’s envoy to the “bloodbath on the beach” in Sri Lanka, Ban Ki-moon’s chief of staff Vijay Nambiar is now reluctant to give the Security Council even a closed door briefing on the crisis, sources told Inner City Press late Tuesday. One well-placed Council diplomat said that despite all 15 members, including China and Russia, agreeing to an “informal interactive dialogue” with Mr. Nambiar, who has just returned via India from three days in Sri Lanka, they were told that Nambiar views the matter as “too sensitive” even for discussion behind closed doors. Nambiar argued that as a “mediator,” what he discussed with Sri Lanka’s president Mahinda Rajapaksa and his brothers was “confidential,” even from the Security Council.

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UN Sends Nambiar to Sri Lanka, Quiet Diplomacy and Ships Off the Beach?

Thursday, April 16th, 2009

[Inner City Press]

With even the UN now speaking of a “bloodbath on the beach” in Northern Sri Lanka, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has quietly sent his titular chief of staff Vijay Nambiar, a former Indian diplomat, to the region to try what the UN is calling “quiet diplomacy.” Some in Ban’s inner circle wonder if it is wise to send an Indian for the job, given India’s large Tamil population and response to the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi. But perhaps that, along with Nambiar’s ties with the Chinese, is what has made Sri Lanka feel comfortable.

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On Sri Lanka, UN Speak of Siege, Calls Cease-Fire Unrealistic, Only Private Diplomacy

Wednesday, April 15th, 2009

[ Inner City Press ]

As military action recommences in northern Sri Lanka, the UN’s top humanitarian John Holmes on Wednesday repeated government assurances that it would be in “siege mode.” Inner City Press asked Holmes, given his estimate of 100,000 civilians trapped in 17 square kilometers, if the UN is asking for a cease-fire. Holmes said that “a cease-fire is not available, we are trying to achieve something realistic.” Video here, from Minute 23:14. Holmes acknowledged that UN staff members — who he pointed out are “local” or “Sri Lankan national” staff — are held without freedom of movement in the camps set up by the government.

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In Sri Lanka, UN Staff Denied “Freedom of Movement” But UN Won’t Name Them

Wednesday, April 15th, 2009

[ Inner City Press ]

The UN on Tuesday refused to confirm the names of UN staff members held “without freedom of movement” in Sri Lankan government camps, and refused to explain why the UN said nothing about their detention until asked about it by Inner City Press on April 13. UN Associate Spokesman Farhan Haq said that “while the government repeatedly assured” that freedom of movement would be restored, the UN “staff remain in the camps.”

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In Sri Lanka, UN Still Withholds Casualty Numbers, Funds Detention Camps

Tuesday, March 10th, 2009

[Inner City Press]

For two weeks, Inner City Press has asked at the UN whether international aid funds will be used for detention camps in which those fleeing the conflict zone in Sri Lanka will be detained, until the end of 2009 or longer. Holmes on Monday confirmed that the UN has “offered to assist transit camps” or “semi-permanent camps,” and as to funding as so far “make no links between the two.” He said that in the long run, the UN would be hard pressed to fund camps that violated international standards. But he said the UN wouldn’t want to “punish those in the camps.” So would the UN just keep on paying, for detention camps?

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UN’s Ban Defends Lack of Sri Lanka Ceasefire Call, Misunderstands His Powers and Duties, Council President Says

Wednesday, February 11th, 2009

[Inner City Press]

As bloodshed and civilian casualties mount in Sri Lanka, at the UN in New York Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon was asked by Inner City Press why, unlike in Gaza, the Congo and elsewhere, he has not called for a ceasefire in Sri Lanka. Mr. Ban responded at some length, reading from notes. In essence he said, because Sri Lanka is not on the agenda of the Security Council, he cannot call for a ceasefire. Video here, from Minute 46:31.

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