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Double standards in UN policy?

July 16, 2009

Inner City Press : UN’s Staff Union Slams Sri Lanka Detentions, Cites Immunity as UN Claims in Sudan
“Why are the UN’s positions in Sri Lanka and Sudan so different?” asks Inner City Press.

UNITED NATIONS, July 14 — With even the funders of Sri Lanka’s camps for Tamils now calling them prison-like places of internment, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has been quoted about Sri Lanka that “I should not be responsible for that.” But what about the continued detention of the UN’s own staff? Two UN system employees have grabbed up by plain clothes police in unmarked vehicles and have yet to be released: Kandasamy “Saundi” Saundrarajan and N. Charles Raveendran.

On July 10 the UN Staff Union called on Ban “to demand the Sri Lankan Government to release all UN staff members held without charge [and] not to restrict the movement of UN personnel.”

The Staff Union alleges a pattern: “The recent action of Sri Lanka to detain two national staff appears to be a campaign against UN personnel, which is illegal under international law. Authorities have been arresting, without explanation, UN staff members, initially refusing to provide access to them by UN officials.” Click here to view the Staff Union statement.

Before issuing their statement, UN Staff Union officials expressed outrage at quotes by the UN’s Country Representative in Sri Lanka, UNHCR’s Amim Awad, that “the UN acknowledges without reservation the right of the security services of Sri Lanka to investigate any allegations of criminal wrongdoing, including by UN staff members, and will cooperate fully to support due process.”

Whatever happened to the UN’s claims, for example in Sudan, that its staff members are immune, at least in the scope of their work?
Read full article here.

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