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Sri Lanka abuses

May 29, 2010

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YOUR MAY 24 editorial “Probe war crimes in Sri Lanka" rightly calls for a credible inquiry into Sri Lanka’s role in the estimated 20,000 civilian deaths during last year’s fighting.

Blindly asking the UN to do the job, however, risks achieving the opposite of justice. That’s what the European Union and its allies discovered in May 2009, after they finally mustered one-third of the UN Human Rights Council’s 47 members to trigger an emergency session on Sri Lanka.

The council majority, composed of non-democracies such as China, Cuba, and Saudi Arabia, turned the proposed resolution upside down. The session ended by actually “commending’’ Sri Lanka for its “promotion and protection of all human rights.’’ Initial references to violations of human rights and international law, and their impact on women, children, and vulnerable groups, were deleted from the final text.

Sadly, the recent election of dictatorial Libya and slave-holding Mauritania will only aggravate the council’s policy of turning a blind eye to victims of the world’s worst abuses while praising the perpetrators.

Hillel C. Neuer,
Executive director, UN Watch Geneva

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