New York, NY (PRWEB) June 3, 2009
According to Tamils for Obama, the United Nations' Human Rights Council shocked much of the world on May 27 when it stated that it blamed the Tamil Tigers for all of civilians death in Vanni this year and failed even to mention atrocities by the Sri Lankan government. The London Times reported online that "Western diplomats and human rights officials were shocked by the outcome at the end of an acrimonious two-day special session to examine the humanitarian and human rights situation in Sri Lanka…"
The U.K. Guardian wrote "Sri Lanka last night scored a major propaganda coup when the UN human rights council praised its victory over the Tamil Tigers and refused calls to investigate allegations of war crimes by both sides in the final chapter of a bloody 25-year conflict."
The Guardian continued "In a shock move, which dismayed western nations critical of Sri Lanka's approach, the island's diplomats succeeded in lobbying enough of its south Asian allies to pass a resolution describing the conflict as a 'domestic matter that doesn't warrant outside interference.'"
At the same time as it affirmed Sri Lanka's right to abuse its population without interference from the rest of the world, the council voted down a resolution proposed by Switzerland and supported by European countries proposing access by international aid agencies to the war zone and IDP camps. The Swiss resolution had also called for investigations into possible war crimes by Sri Lanka.
The U.N. is not doing its job, says Tamils for Obama.
"The U.N. has a responsibility to watch out for human rights and the safety of minorities," said a spokesman for the Tamil group. "U.N. officials are looking for every reason not to do their duty."
In 1992, the General Assembly adopted the Declaration on the Rights of Persons Belonging to National … Minorities. It places a moral obligation on U.N member states to respect the rights of their minorities and on the U.N. to ensure that its members do so.
A London Times analysis writes "Critics say that the UN should be reformed or abolished because of its failure to stand up to dictators or the perpetrators of genocide. They point to its failure to halt the Rwandan genocide in 1994, to intervene in the Srebrenica massacre in 1995, its obsession with criticizing Israel and its failure to halt genocide in Sudan."
'It has been largely impotent on the major issues of our time," said Anne Bayevsky, a UN expert at the Hudson Institute. Tamils for Obama adds that the U.N. has seen atrocities in Sri Lanka and tried its best not to notice.
UN Humanitarian Coordination Office (OCHA) spokeswoman Elisabeth Byrs told AFP: "The UN has publicly and repeatedly said that the number of people killed in recent months has been unacceptably high and it has shared its estimates with the government as well as others concerned."
The Tamils for Obama spokesman said "Of course the U.N. has said those causality figures are 'unacceptably high.' Any number of casualties would be 'unacceptably high.' Ten deaths would be 'unacceptably high.' It is a way of not giving a figure, of not acknowledging that not ten but tens of thousands of innocent civilians have been killed."
The London Times reports that "Confidential United Nations documents acquired by The Times record nearly 7,000 civilian deaths in the no-fire zone up to the end of April. UN sources said that the toll then surged, with an average of 1,000 civilians killed each day until May 19, the day after Velupillai Prabhakaran, the leader of the Tamil Tigers, was killed. That figure concurs with the estimate made to The Times by Father Amalraj, a Roman Catholic priest who fled the no-fire zone on May 16 and is now interned with 200,000 other survivors in Manik Farm refugee camp. It would take the final toll above 20,000. 'Higher,' a UN source told The Times. 'Keep going.'" The Tamils for Obama spokesman commented "Of course, that figure comes from 'Confidential United Nations' sources. Do not expect the U.N. to state that in public."
The Times goes on "On Wednesday, Sri Lanka was cleared of any wrongdoing by the UN Human Rights Council after winning the backing of countries including China, Egypt, India and Cuba." Tamils for Obama notes that this is one group of malefactors covering up for another.
Tamils for Obama reports that it has its own sources in the safety zone. These sources estimate that there were 360,000 Tamil civilians in the safety zone last January. Now, news reports say that there are about 290,000 Tamil civilians held in detention camps by the Sri Lankan military. For Tamils for Obama, the math is simple: about 70,000 Tamils civilians have vanished in the last five months.
In an earlier example of U.N. denial, Gordon Weiss, the U.N. spokesman in Sri Lanka, spoke this month about the "Mothers' Day Massacre" that had happened in the safety zone in northern Sri Lanka. "The large-scale killing of civilians over the weekend," he said, "including the deaths of more than 100 children, shows that (the) bloodbath has become a reality." However, Ban Ki-Moon, the U.N. secretary general, visited Sri Lanka last week and denied the reality to which the U.N. spokesman had just testified. Ban said, regarding the bloodbath, "I myself did not mention that particular word, I want to make that quite clear."
The U.S. has satellite photos that seem to show that Sri Lanka used heavy weapons in the "safety zone." The U.N. "has leaked satellite images from multiple sources that appeared to prove that the Sri Lankan air force had bombed civilians (in the safety zone) despite establishing it as a no-fire zone for them to shelter in," said the London Times Online. Ban Ki-Moon, however, claimed in an interview with CNN that, after flying over the safety zone, he saw "no clear evidence" of heavy weapons use against the civilians.
The Tamils for Obama spokesman acknowledged Ban's diplomatic obligations--"The secretary general was clearly being polite to his Sri Lankan host"--but added "At the same time, he was neglecting his duty to protect the Tamil minority and was deliberately ignoring evidence which the U.N. possessed of Sri Lankan abuses."
Ban Ki-Moon's chief of staff, Vijay Nambiar, visited Sri Lanka last month to report on the humanitarian crisis unfolding in northern Sri Lanka. He then refused to pass on anything he had learned to the Security Council, his bosses. Nambiar has 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. Nambiar declined at first even to have a closed door briefing for the Security Council, but later bowed to international pressure.
"Whatever Nambiar learned about the humanitarian crisis in Sri Lanka," said the spokesman from Tamils for Obama, "he apparently did not want to share it with the rest of the world, or even with the Security Council."
To read entire articles quoted here go to:
To see the satellite photos of the safety zone:
To read the Tamil translation, go to:
Tamils are an ethnic group living mainly in the northeast of Sri Lanka and southern India. They are a minority population in Sri Lanka, and are currently bearing the brunt of a civil war they regard as genocide. One third of the Tamil population has fled the island and formed a substantial diaspora overseas. Tamils for Obama is comprised of Tamils who have settled in the U.S. or who were born in the U.S.
To contact the group, call at (617) 765- 4394 and speak to, or leave a message for, the Communication Director, Tamils for Obama.