| by Matthew Russell Lee
( March 5, 2014, New York City, Sri Lanka Guardian) When the UN Human Rights Council began its speeches on Monday morning, Hugo Swires of the UK, Canada and others cited Sri Lanka and the need for accountability.
US Ambassador Samantha Power, according to the UN's list of speakers, was to appear late Tuesday.
But at 4 pm on Monday when the marked up Sri Lanka resolution was tabled, its eight operative paragraph appeared to simply kick the can down the road again, asking for another update from the High Commissioner for Human Rights -- who soon won't be Navi Pillay anymore.
Later on Monday, the US State Department announced that the US' speech would be given by another official, Under Secretary of State for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights Sarah Sewall: not Power.
During the speeches on Monday, Syria and North Korea remained in nearly every speech but Ukraine and the Central African Republic worked their way in, along with a smattering of references to Sri Lanka, where the killing of tens of thousands of civilians remains unaddressed.
It was noted that the term of High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay is almost up. But it was Secretary General Ban Ki-moon who said she'd only have one half of a second term.
Pillay on January 20 said the France put Muslim communities at risk in CAR. How will that be acted on? She's called for a international accountability mechanism for Sri Lanka; Ban says its entirely up to member states, as he told Inner City Press regarding having controversial military figure Shavendra Silva as an adviser to UN Peacekeeping under Herve Ladsous.
Qatar, which sent only a "Minister's Assistant," predictable denounced Syria and also spoke for freedom of the press if not of speech. #FreeAJstaff, we and the Free UN Coalition for Access absolutely agree with. But what about Qatar having locked up the poet Ajami?
Greece spoke on Ukraine, taking the EU line, which implies that the International Monetary Fund will save Ukraine. Has they happened in Greece? What about the protesters in Greece's squares?
Ban Ki-moon gave a press conference, pitching for relevance and a role in Ukraine, where instead of Robert Serry he has now sent his deputy Jan Eliasson. But once it was leaked that former US now UN official Jeff Feltman "got" Ban to send Serry to Ukraine, Ban's UN being viewed as impartial is more difficult.
It was World Wildlife Day, so Ban gave a speech on that as well. But unaddressed since Inner City Press reported and asked about it on February 28 are what UN whistleblowers say are more than 50 rapes in Eastern Congo by poacher Mai Mai Morgan. Ban will meet his Special Representatives including Martin Kobler from the Congo. What will the UN's answer be?
UK Hugo Swire took on the Sri Lanka issue; here's his response to Pillay's report. He said it's time for international action.
US Samantha Power won't speak until March 4, in the afternoon in Geneva so work hours in the US. Sri Lanka's G.L. Peiris on the other hand appears March 5 but 3:40 am Eastern Times.