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UN official notes failure in SL

2013 Oct 10

A top UN official has noted the failure of the UN system during the final stages of the war in Sri Lanka in 2009.


Jan Eliasson, deputy secretary-general of the United Nations, speaking at the Council on Foreign Relations, said that an internal review of UN action at the end of the civil war in 2009 noted a ‘systemic’ failure of different parts of the UN. Member States did not meet the tasks they themselves had set.


He said the UN system did not adapt properly when the final brutal stage of the conflict put great pressure for a broader UN presence, which had been focused on development.


“A main lesson we are to draw from this is to ensure that the UN system has political and human rights expertise and resources in place where they are needed. Equally important is to recognize that human rights violations are our best early warning signals in emerging crises– and, of course, that we must act on such signals and speak out about what we see. On behalf of the Secretary General, I have led this internal scrutiny. There is important work for the Member States as well,” he said.


Eliasson noted that the UN did not have the resources in Sri Lanka to monitor and report back to the UN Security Council during the war.


UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon had also admitted recently of a “systematic failure” by the UN system in Sri Lanka. (Colombo Gazette)

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