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Civilian protection politicized
2010-07-08 10:33:42
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Sri Lanka has called on the UN Security Council to hold non-state actors accountable and not politicize the protection of civilians when it comes to the protection of civilians in armed conflict.

Speaking at the UN Security Council during a day-long debate on the protection of civilians in armed conflict, Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative to the UN Dr. Palitha Kohona said that although a substantial normative framework had been developed for the protection of civilians, the politicization and selectivity characterizing the debate on implementation had affected its credibility, thereby calling into question the sincerity of the concerns expressed for the plight of civilians affected by armed conflict.

A UN release quoted Dr. Kohona as telling the debate yesterday that his country’s experience in dealing with terrorists that used the civilian population as shields behind which to launch attacks showed the complexity of the challenges involved.

“Many of the rules of war were based on the presumption that parties to a conflict are conventional armies, but terrorists totally disregarded those laws and principles. The causes of armed conflict must also be addressed, including the proliferation of small arms and light weapons, he said, adding that there was also a need to recognize the legitimate role of the military in civilian protection, though it was not an exclusive one,” he said.

Meanwhile the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillai, who also spoke at the debate, said there had been unacceptably high civilian losses caused by both sides in Sri Lanka during the war.

She however noted that some progress had been made since the end of the conflict in returning and resettling internally displaced persons but called for concrete initiatives to provide justice and redress to victims, while promoting accountability and longer-term reconciliation. (Daily Mirror online)

Comments - 11
Calistus Jayatilleke Thursday, 8 July 2010 05:16
Are there any preventive measures designed to avoid state terrorists taking employees of recognized international organiations into hostage and obstruct their free movements. Perhaps, it is time the UN comes up with a convention covering such eventualities.
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Dani Thursday, 8 July 2010 05:19
Kohona has said: ".... a need to recognize the legitimate role of the military in civilian protection..."
If so then is it not legitimate to call for a independent investigation if there is a masive civilian deaths during a conflict?
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malkanthi Thursday, 8 July 2010 05:25
If only people in the calibre of Dr Kohona can voice on behalf of the country, even interviews locally and internationally, there should be improvement in foreign relations, rather than every unqualified, undiplomatic politicos speaking thereby distorting the image of our country!
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Faqi Thursday, 8 July 2010 05:27
We all agree its a complex issue the protection of non combatants in a civil war. Why are we so afraid of a probe or inquiry unless we have something hide. Isn't it better to have a probe and be done with, if their was civilian casualties in large numbers as they say, why not find out how that happened and who was responsible. Its best to have an open door policy in instances like this as it shows the maturity of a country to accept blame where blame is due. Otherwise this will be like a festering sore for years to come.
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SR Thursday, 8 July 2010 06:40
Dear Faqi.. this probe is just to punish the people who stopped terrorism nothing else. What if LTTE killed 10000 civilians at the end of the war, who will get caught, poor army fellows and our leaders. We had filmed evidence LTTE is killing innocent civilians leaving the battle zone but in inquiries like this it is easy to prove otherwise. They are not trying to do it the way you and me think.
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Ananda S Thursday, 8 July 2010 05:53
Well said Dr. Kohona.
Ms Pillai does'nt know that innocent people were not killed deliberately by SL Arm forces but by LTTE.. She doesnt understand this because she is a Tamil and taking a Pro-LTTE stance.
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james bond Thursday, 8 July 2010 11:28
does it mean you are a Sinhalese and deny the others?
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prasan Thursday, 8 July 2010 05:59
Faqi, this is internal matter of SL within SL boundries affecting the security & soveregnity of SL. First let Ban & Navi Pillai investigate Western powers' muddling in Iraq, Afghanistan externally thousands miles away from their borders.
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Rajapaksha Thursday, 8 July 2010 06:01
This is why we need Diplomats like Dr. Kohona. He is intelligent and fluent. Whether we agree with his ideas is a different matter. But he can very well convey his message to any audience. This matter is a very serious one, what he mentioned is very important to all those countries including US who are fighting against terrorists.
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nath Thursday, 8 July 2010 06:22
Well done, Dr Kohona! for making UN aware of the broad picture.
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RajasH Thursday, 8 July 2010 06:41
what civilian protection are they talking about. Civilians were carpet bombed by his government.
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