At UN, Sri Lankan Defends Religion from “Human Rights of Alien Cultures”
By Matthew Russell Lee
UNITED NATIONS, September 23 — Amid war crimes charges, Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s speech Friday at the UN General Assembly was full of ironies.
Known for ruthlessly ending a separatist movement, Rajapaksa in his speech said that dialogue is the only way to resolve problems. He has insisted that the Panel of Experts report detailing war crimes is not a UN report — but he thanked that UN.
Having opposed an aspiration for independence or autonomy, he nevertheless expressed support for a Palestinian state. He invoked religion and wished his audience peace, even as he’s sued for war crimes.
The religious reference was perhaps the most telling, as he said that longstanding beliefs cannot be trumped by “human rights… from alien cultures.”
The Panel of Experts report is now belatedly at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva. On September 22, Rajapaksa’s foreign mininster G.L. Peiris had separate meetings with Lynn Pascoe and then Ban Ki-moon’s chief of staff Vijay Nambiar, who played a role in what are called the White Flag murders of surrendering Tamil Tiger leaders. Nambiar declined to summarize his meeting with Peiris.
While several UN sources close to Ban Ki-moon have told Inner City Press Ban will meet with Rajapaksa on September 23, Ban’s schedule as put out Thursday night and Friday morning did not list any meeting with Mahinda.
Inner City Press has asked Ban’s spokesman, “today’s ‘Appointments of the S-G’ does not list Mahinda Rajapaksa of Sri Lanka — please confirm that this means Ban Ki-moon is not meeting with Mahinda Rajapaksa today.” No response has been received. More updates at InnerCityPress – courtesy:InnterCityPress