Who monitors the monitors? – II
Posted on August 30th, 2016

by Neville Ladduwahetty Courtesy The Island

The mandate of the Geneva based 47 Member Human Rights Council installed in 2006 is to promote, protect and prevent Human Rights violations. Given below are instances where the UN has admitted that it failed to live up to its mandate,together with instances where the UN failed to admit its inability to fulfill its mandate.

These failures have resulted in the death of 800,000 in Rwanda, 10,000 dead in Haiti and 800,000 sick; as well as unreported numbers in other zones of conflictwhere it has failed to prevent non-state actors from using children as combatants.

ADMITTED FAILURES by UN

1. RWANDA: The report of the Independent Inquiry appointed by the UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, into the actions of the United Nations in Rwanda where over 800,000people were killed in the 100 days between April and May 1994 stated:

“The international community did not prevent the genocide, nor did it stop the killing once the genocide had begun. The failure has left wounds within Rwanda society and in the relationship between Rwanda and the international community, in particular the United Nations. The failure by the United Nations to prevent and subsequently, to stop the genocide in Rwanda was a failure by the United Nations system as a whole”.

2.BOSNIA: Commenting on the failure of the UN in Bosnia, the then Secretary General, Boutros Boutros-Ghali stated:

“…the tragedy that provoked UNPROFOR’s involvement remains an affront to the world’s conscience. Abstention is not an acceptable option for the international community at such a time”.

3.HAITI: A recent letter to the Editor of The Washington Post stated:

“In a country that is extremely vulnerable to disease outbreaks and that has limited capacity to respond to them, the introduction of cholera resulted in a major and ongoing disaster, with more than 10,000 deaths and 800,000people sickened”, (The Washington PostAugust 19, 2016

A report in The Washington Post of the same date stated:

“…the U.N. is finally acknowledging its complicity in Haiti’s cholera crisis. Breaking a steely silence, a spokesman for Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon told the New York Times that the organization “needs to do much more regarding its own involvement in the initial outbreak and the suffering of those affected by cholera.” A new policy will be prepared after consultations with Haitian officials and other governments”.

“It is difficult to overstate the damage the U.N. has done to its own prestige and moral standing by its pig-headed denialism. The disease, absent from the country for at least a century, struck soon after the arrival in 2010 of several hundred peacekeeping troops from Nepal, which at the time was struggling with a cholera outbreak. Untreated waste from the peacekeepers’ base was discharged into a nearby river and, in short order, Haitians in nearby villages began to get sick and die. In a nation with paltry infrastructure and an anemic public health system, the disease spread quickly”.

FAILURES NOT ADMITTED byUN

1. SOUTH SUDAN: A report in The Washington Post of August 7, 2016 titled “”Where Will We Run This Time” stated:

“The United Nations operates 16 peacekeeping missions around the world, many of which exist primarily to protect vulnerable civilians. That mandate was reinforced after the genocide in Rwanda and Bosnia in the mid – 1990s occurred as outnumbered U.N. peacekeeping forces stood by”.

“But 20 years later, the United Nations is once again facing sharp criticism for failing to protect civilians, this time in South Sudan, where 160,000 people are living in camps….For civilians in the camp, it was like trying to escape from a prison set aflame, the barbed-wire fences penning in wailing mothers and children with swarms of gunmen”.

“The U.N. mission, known as UNMISS, said it would shelter anyone fleeing from the violence, and it created six makeshift tent cities in late 2013 and early 2014. It was the right thing to do, the U.N. peacekeeping chief, HerveLadsous, would later tell reporters… Over time, the camps became so neglected – its latrines overflowing, its food in near-perpetual shortage – that it failed to meet the minimum humanitarian standards governing the world’s refugee and displacement camps”.

“The women saw how peacekeepers ran from the fighting or refused to use their weapons. “What will the internationals do to protect us this time” asked one woman”.

“It’s the U.N. now who can protect us”, she said firmly. “Last time they said they weren’t ready. This time they have to be”.

“The United Nations, in an internal investigation, would eventually conclude that peacekeeping failed in Malakal through a “combination of inaction, abandonment of post and refusal to engage”.

2. SRI LANKA: A report titled “Report on Secretary General’s Internal Review panel on United Nations Actions in Sri Lanka” of November 2012 headed by Charles Petrie states:

“…the Panel’s report concludes that events in Sri Lanka mark a great failure of the UN to adequately respond to early warnings and to the evolving situations during the final stages of the conflict and its aftermath, to the detriment of hundreds of thousands of civilians and in contradiction with the principles and responsibilities of the UN. The elements of what was a systemic failure can be distilled into the following: (i) a UN system that lacked an adequate and shared sense of responsibility for human rights violations; (ii) an incoherent internal UN crisis-management structure which failed to conceive and execute a coherent strategy in response to early warnings and subsequent international human rights and humanitarian law violations against civilians…”.

A reliable source, on condition of anonymity, informs me that: “from 1987 to 2003, 60% of the fighting force of the LTTE were underage children. From 2006 to 2009 UNICEF had a data base on Child Soldiers. These were documented by name on information given to UNICEF officials in conflict affected areas, there were over 6000, one third girls and two thirds boys. All had to carry a suicide capsule and bite it if caught. They told me this and I am witness. No NGOs ever refer to them!!! Nor did any NGOs help them. The funding was by the state, and the programme was done through the Ministry of Justice and the Commissioner General of Rehabilitation. Every single child was released at the end of the conflict”.

Clearly, over the years, neither the UN nor any members of the International Community who were associated with the peace process such as Norway and the Co-Chairs, did anything to call a halt to the LTTE, who as a party to the armed conflict should have been held responsible for the use of child soldiers in the armed conflict. Even today the subjectis simply glossed over.

Furthermore, the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon, “abstained” from visiting Sri Lanka in January 2009, neglecting use of his international influence to prevail on the LTTE to release the nearly 350,000 civilians the group had taken hostage during the separatist armed conflict. Had he done so, many lives could have been saved. For this he has to be held accountable. Instead, he visited Sri Lanka one week after the fighting was over in May 2009, and wanted GoSL to initiate an accountability process. The UN is sure to follow the same procedure after it fails to prevent human rights violations in South Sudan.

3. YEMEN: An Associated Press report in The Washington Post of August 26 states:

The U.N. human rights chief called for an international investigation of rights abuses and violence in Yemen’s civil war, which has killed thousands of people…The call from ZeidRa’ad al Hussein came as his Geneva office released a 22-page report chronicling abuses on both sides in the conflict, which pits the internationally recognized Yemeni government, backed by s Saudi –led coalition, against Shiite rebels…”. In a statement, Zeid’s office said he “called on the international community to establish an international, independent body to carry out comprehensive investigations in Yemen”.

A UN News Center report dated January 5, 2016 had already stated:

“Civilians are suffering a “terrible toll” in the fighting tearing Yemen apart, with casualties now topping 8,100, nearly 2,800 of them killed, amid Saudi-led coalition airstrikes, shelling by Houthi groups and other clashes, the United Nations reported today”.

“Airstrikes have continued into the New Year, with around 11 strikes taking place in the capital Sana’a on Sunday and Monday (3 and 4 January), and further airstrikes are reported to have been carried out in the early hours of this morning,” UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) spokesperson Rupert Colville told the regular news briefing in Geneva.

A Reuter’s World News report of January 2016had also stated:

“It is extremely concerning (sic) that many transfers are still continuing, in particular the governments of the United States, the UK and France have authorized and are continuing to export very large quantities of weapons, including explosive weapons, bombs which are being used daily against civilians in Yemen”, said Anna MacDonald, director of the Control Arms Coalition.

CONCLUSION

Cited above are 3 instances where the UN has admitted that it failed to live up to its mandate to “promote, protect and prevent”, and 3 instances where the UN has yet to admit to failures. However, the UN cannot deny that the camps run by them in South Sudan have overflowing latrines, shortage of food, besides other shortcomings that do not meet minimum humanitarian standards for refugees; that in Sri Lanka the UN failed to prevent the recruitment and use of nearly 6000 child soldiers by the LTTE; that the death of nearly 10,000 in Haiti were due to infectious diseases transmitted by UN peace keeping forces, and for its failure to stop the US, the UK and France supplying weapons to the Saudi-led coalition (as reported above), to be the cause of civilian deaths in Yemen.

The common thread in the latter 3 instances is the presence of civilians in zones of conflict. The fact that the UN has over decades failed to develop a strategy to separate and isolate civilians from conflict zones is the reason for thousands of civilians being put in harm’sway. For this the UN has to be held accountable.

The most serious charge against the UN relates to the use of child soldiers by the LTTE in Sri Lanka’s separatist armed conflict. The UN should have brought to the attention of the LTTE and their backers that it was a criminal offence to use children in combat. For this the UN should be held accountable.

According to a press release relating to the conflict in Sri Lanka,dated November 14, 2012 (SG/SM/14639) the Secretary General is reported as having stated:

“This morning, Mr. Petrie briefed me on the report’s findings and recommendations.  The report concludes that the United Nations system failed to meet its responsibilities, highlighting, in particular, the roles played by the Secretariat, the agencies and programmes of the United Nations country team, and the members of the Security Council and Human Rights Council”. (http://www.un.org/press/en/2012/sgsm14639.doc.htm).

In view of the Secretary General’s own admission, the UN should abandon all activities associated with implementation of provisions in the resolutions on Sri Lanka passed by the UNHRC. Not to do so is unconscionable.

3 Responses to “Who monitors the monitors? – II”

  1. Fran Diaz Says:

    We AGREE totally with what Mr Laduwahetty says here :
    The UN must abandon all activities associated with implementation of provisions in the Resolutions on Sri Lanka passed by the UNHRC !

    What is the UN doing about the injustices by foreign countries toward Sri Lanka ?

    * First, Colonisation of some 500 yrs.

    * Now, in present times, a new invasion of sorts by INDIA, & possibly by some other foreign countries !

    Look at the list of Grand Plans by Yahap, added to the attack by UNHRC :

    – ETCA
    – Sea tunnel to Tamil Nadu
    – 5,000 acre lots on 99 yr leases to foreigners
    – New Constitution (what might that bring ?)

  2. plumblossom Says:

    This Is How The Office Of The Missing Persons (Which Will Become A Bogus ‘Evidence’ Manufacturing Machine) Manufacture Bogus ‘Evidence’ Of 40,000 Missing Persons To Try Our Brave Armed Forces For So Called War Crimes They Never, Ever Committed

    In the Missing Persons Act, a relative or a friend can make an official inquiry (but a totally bogus inquiry) from the Office of the Missing Persons (OMP) by email inquiring as to the whereabouts of their relative or friend.

    There are over 8 lakhs to 10 lakhs Tamil diaspora asylum seekers (actually economic migrants), a vast majority of who support the separatist terrorist LTTE and its aim of a separate state. If even 40,000 of these Tamil diaspora who support the separatist terrorist LTTE write bogus emails to the OMP inquiring the whereabouts of their friend or relative (but this friend or relative is actually living alongside them in these countries i.e. the US, UK, EU, Canada, Sweden, Norway, Australia, New Zealand, India etc.) these inquiries will officially be accepted by the OMP as 40,000 missing persons.

    According to the provisions of the OMP Act, even if the OMP inquires after these let us say 40,000 and finds out that these are all bogus inquiries and that all these 40,000 persons are actually living alongside the inquirer i.e. their relative or friend and these complaints about these persons being missing are all bogus, the missing persons, now found by the OMP, can request that their whereabouts not be revealed to their relative or friend or be made public. So officially these 40,000 persons will still be missing!!!

    Then the OMP will use these bogus 40,000 missing persons (who are actually living comfortably in the US, UK, EU, Canada, Sweden, Norway, Australia, New Zealand, India etc.) as manufactured ‘evidence’ that war crimes happened in Sri Lanka (and all these bogus inquirers will state that these persons went missing during the 2006-2009 period) and our Sri Lankan Armed Forces will be persecuted for committing war crimes that they never, ever committed by a judicial process using these bogus email inquiries.

    The Missing Persons Act states specifically that if the missing person who is now found requests that the fact that they are now found not be revealed to the public that person will remain as missing as far as the OMP is concerned. That is how the OMP will manufacture bogus ‘evidence’ of 40,000 missing persons so that the Sri Lankan Armed Forces can be persecuted for committing bogus war crimes.

    The OMP emails cannot be checked by any outside body as stated in the Act since all evidence (almost all bogus) gathered by the OMP remains confidential. The OMP cannot be taken to the Supreme Court on this issue. However the OMP should absolutely and immediately be taken to the Supreme Court regarding what has been written above which is what would happen when this OMP is set up.

    The OMP will become a bogus ‘evidence’ manufacturing machine which will gather such bogus inquiries via email from those members of the Tamil diaspora who are supportive of the LTTE terrorists and who will send bogus email inquiries by their thousands. All these bogus inquiries (of people who are actually living in the US, UK, EU, Canada, Sweden, Norway, Australia, New Zealand, India etc.) will then be misused as missing person inquiries.

    I did not realize that the Sinhalese were this stupid as to allow such a process within the Missing Persons Act which can be blatantly misused in order to manufacture bogus ‘evidence’ like this. The OMP process is not transparent, it will happen in total secrecy, no one in Sri Lanka will be able to question it, not our police, not our courts, not our Sri Lankan citizens, nobody. All the OMP will do is gather bogus email ‘evidence’ such as described above which will then be misused as missing person inquiries to try the Sri Lankan Armed Forces for bogus war crimes that they never, ever committed.

    The OMP process as described above must be stopped immediately. If a relative or a friend really and genuinely wants to find out about their genuinely missing relative or friend (i.e. perished LTTE terrorist), they can make a complaint to the OMP in person in public. This is the only way that Sri Lanka and the world will know that their inquiry is genuine. This was the methodology followed by the earlier Paranagama Commission which then received 23,000 complaints from relatives or friends of the missing person (i.e. perished LTTE terrorist or our perished Sri Lankan Forces soldiers) but they made their complaint in public in person to the commission. This is the only way to ensure authenticity and make the process transparent since this happens in the public arena. However, even with such safeguards, even some of those complaints may have been bogus.

    The OMP should be stopped immediately since it is not a transparent process at all as described above but a totally secretive process where no one and nobody can request to be provided an opportunity to even peruse, investigate or look at the email inquiries received by the OMP. If the UNHRC, the US, UK, EU, Canada, Sweden, Norway, Australia, New Zealand, India, the TNA and the separatist terrorists genuinely want to find out about perished LTTE terrorists, this Yahapalanaya Government could expand and extend the scope of the already set up Paranagama Commission in order to make such inquiries. This process should be totally following Sri Lankan Law, within Sri Lankan jurisdiction, paid for totally by the Sri Lankan Government only and with only Sri Lankan citizens appointed as commission members and investigators. In fact the entire staff should be composed of Sri Lankan citizens only. The process should be a totally domestic process with no interference or input whatsoever from foreign countries. Most importantly, all complaints should be made in person by relatives and friends in public if their complaint is genuine.

    The Missing Persons Act is totally dangerous as pointed out above and should be dismissed totally as it is highly dangerous and a totally secretive process as described above designed and set up to manufacture bogus ‘evidence’ against the Sri Lankan Armed Forces.

  3. Cerberus Says:

    Mr. Ladduwahetty, Thank you for this well-analysed article pointing out the failures of the UN.

    I agree that the UN has failed and therefore the Secretary General Banki Moon has also failed to help Sri Lanka. The net result of the UN meddling in Sri Lanka is that now we have lost Democracy which the West is very fond of, in Sri Lanka, since the two parties which won the election have formed a so-called FALSE “National Govt” which means we now have a Fascist Govt. without Parliament or other balancing factors. There is no legal Opposition and the Govt is steamrolling all the Bills it wants to pass through the Parliament. As we all know this is a dangerous trend and can lead to the collapse of the society. At some point, the desire of the people to have their say will boil over into a violent uprising leading to bloodshed and destruction of property. This is exactly what happened after nearly 500 yrs of Colonisation.

    I agree with your conclusion that the least the UN can do at this stage is to drop all the War crimes investigations and just walk away from Sri Lanka and leave us to shape our own destiny.

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