Will they remember to tell it right?

May 28, 2009 at 4:40 pm (Human Rights) (, , , , )

An interesting point about the new United Nations resolution on Sri Lanka was brought to my attention in a recent update by Amnesty International’s Sri Lanka country specialist. The resolution that was passed was drafted by the government of Sri Lanka!

Jim McDonald, Amnesty International’s Sri Lanka country specialist, put it this way:

“What’s next for the Human Rights Council – asking the Sudanese government to draft a resolution on Darfur?”

 

A government body that has been accused of gross human rights violations for numerous years creating their own resolution just doesn’t seem right.

On May 13th, President Obama spoke about the conflict in Sri Lanka. The video can be found at the end of this post. I applaud President Obama for recognizing this crisis and bringing it to the public’s attention. The President also acknowledged the dramatic loss of lives and widespread suffering being experienced by civilians in Sri Lanka. He called for the Tamil Tigers to lay down their arms and also asked the Sri Lankan government to end indiscriminate shelling that has led to countless civilian casualties. While he did acknowledge that both sides were responsible for the humanitarian crisis, President Obama failed to call for accountability and to recognize that an independent investigation of both parties should be conducted. Why say that the behavior of the LTTE and the Sri Lankan government will not be tolerated without any consequences or follow up?

President Obama closed his statements on Sri Lanka by asking the government to open its borders to humanitarian aid agencies to alleviate the crisis that he described as close to a catastrophe. Without global outreach and the acceptance of aid by various aid agencies the civilian population will continue to suffer.

 “I don’t believe we can delay. Now is the time for all of us to work together to avert further humanitarian suffering.” — President Obama

 

Does the international community have the right to investigate this government for its actions? Is it really our business? Yes. The country of Sri Lanka has signed and ratified numerous United Nations treaties that aim to protect civilians and uphold human rights worldwide. If the country makes a promise to the international community to uphold human rights, it has an obligation to do so. Otherwise, what’s the point of even having these treaties?

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Soldier in Pink Boxers

May 23, 2009 at 4:15 pm (Opinion) (, , , , , )

I opened the front door this morning and reached down to pick up the newspaper. I carried it inside, eagerly anticipating the flood of news and current events awaiting me. No such luck.

The front page beamed headlines such as “School snake slithers away”, “Grillers beware”, “Beetle alert: Asian pests eating trees”, “Health care reform yes, soda no”, and “To spend less on health care, take charge and call the nurse”. Not even the slight mention of any of the major events affecting the global community over the past several days.

I turned the page and hoped that I would find more substantial news stories in the Nation and World pages. Again, no such luck. The articles that greeted my eyes in this section included “Soldier in pink boxers praised”, “Dad poisoned kids soup”, “Mother charged in killing, burying son in playground”, and “Head-butt charge dropped” scattered amid advertisements for Memorial Day sales at local businesses.

I was thoroughly perplexed. Were these the most important events shaping our community over the last several days? Curious, I explored several other news mediums.

“US Relies More on Allies in Questioning Terror Suspects” discussed the new methods of interrogation and detainment of suspected terrorists.

“Where Life’s Start is a Deadly Risk” examined Africa’s issues with pregnancy and childbirth.

The end of the war in Sri Lanka. The capture of a Taliban-controlled town in Pakistan. The death of a Libyan defender of human rights and free speech. The budget crisis in California. Some of the top news stories of the day were missing from this newspaper.

The local newspaper’s mission is as follows: connecting you with your community. The newspaper is broken down into multiple sections. Section A houses the front page, the Nation and World pages, and several others. Section B features state and local news and business news. Section C details recent sports events.

Again, I became confused. If there is an entire section devoted to state and local news, where was the national and global news? It certainly wasn’t in the Nation and World pages. Surely the story about a soldier wearing pink boxer shorts can’t be that important.

Is the newspaper’s neglect to share and discuss important global events okay? Is it enough to only know about what is happening in a 100 mile radius from where you live?

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