Sri Lanka's Silva Is Ruled "Not Appropriate" for UN Advisory Group, "Won't Participate" After War Crimes Reporting
By Matthew Russell Lee, Inner City press, UNITED NATIONS, 22 February 2012 - Culminating twenty six days of questions from Inner City Press to the UN and then various countries' missions to the UN how they could accept as a member of the UN "Senior Advisory Group on Peacekeeping Operations" Major General Shavendra Silva, on the afternoon of February 22 Silva was told by the Group's chair that his participation is "not appropriate."
The move comes after UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon told Inner City Press he could do nothing about being advised by Silva, whose Division 58 is repeatedly named in connection with war crimes in Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's Panel of Experts report on Sri Lanka.
However, the Permanent Representative of Bangladesh told Inner City Press that Silva was "not acceptable," and said that his counterparts from India and Pakistan felt the same. Inner City Press asked High Commissioner Navi Pillay (on camera) and US Ambassador Susan Rice (off camera) and each said they had expressed concern to Ban's Secretariat.
Update of 5:55 pm: Inner City Press asked Rice about the day's proceedings and statement, noting that while Silva did not speak he had remained present to the end. Rice told Inner City Press of Silva, "He's a goner."
So had Amnesty International, whose representative to the UN Jose Luis Diaz subsequently told Inner City Press:
"This development comes not a moment too soon. It was simply outrageous and unbelievable that a person named in the report of the UN Secretary-General's own Sri Lanka accountability panel as heading a military unit about which there were credible allegations of war crimes and crimes against humanity could serve in any capacity on behalf of the UN, let alone in a senior advisory group on peacekeeping. The appointment risked tarnishing the credibility and legitimacy of the United Nations and its peacekeeping role. We salute Ms Frechette's decision, which in fact is the only conscionable one."