2ND LEAD (Adds details)

Rice's silence on Sri Lanka may hurt cabinet appointment - paper

[TamilNet, Saturday, 01 December 2012, 13:57 GMT]
While the accusation that Dr. Susan Rice, the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, intentionally mislead the public by saying that the Bengazhi killings of four Americans was a spontaneous attack in response to a film mocking prophet Mohammed, appears to have damaged her chances of being appointed as the U.S.'s Secretary of State after Hilary Clinton, Rice's human rights record in the U.N., including her inaction on Sri Lanka killings, has also come under closer scrutiny, Washington Post said in an article this Friday, quoting comment from an official of the Human Rights Watch.

Dr. Susan Rice
Dr. Susan Rice, US Ambassador to UN
"Rice speaks often about her commitment to human rights, a cause that allies say is central to her worldview. Yet, one of the world’s leading human rights advocates has been a frequent critic. “She tends to be strongest when the human rights violations involved are committed by U.S. adversaries,” Kenneth Roth, the executive director of Human Rights Watch, told Foreign Policy.

“But she [Rice] is less strong when violations are committed by U.S. friends, like Rwanda or Israel, or by governments more in the middle, like Sri Lanka,” Washington Post said quoting Roth.

The U.N.'s conduct in Sri Lanka was criticized as "grave failure" to protect civilians and to respond to early warnings, a U.N. internal investigation concluded. History will record that the killings in Mu'l'lvaaykkaal took place under the watch of the Obama administration, with Susan Rice presiding over the U.S. interests in the halls of the U.N., a Tamil activist said. Ambassador Blake's alleged hand in architecting the US policy that led to the massacre is a further indictment to U.S. and its continuing inaction to the ongoing cultural genocide against the Tamil people in Sri Lanka, the activist added.

The Post refers also to a Atlantic Monthly article where the then journalist, and currently the Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Multilateral Affairs and Human Rights, Samantha Power, as commenting that Rice "favors political concerns over humanitarian issues."

"If we use the word genocide and are seen as doing nothing, what will be the effect [on the November] elections," Power quoted Rice as saying.

A Spokesperson for Tamils Against Genocide [TAG], a US-based activist group, said, "Concerns of political fall out on labeling intentional mass-killings of a people, such as what happened in Mu'l'lvaaykaal, as genocide is highlighted by these words from Rice. In addition the legal implications arising from the Genocide Convention of 1948 also is a hurdle that diplomats need to cross to attach "genocide" to actual genocides."

TamilNet reported earlier that "[i]n March 2009 Sri Lanka had come to the attention of the UN’s Special Adviser for the Prevention of Genocide, Francis Deng, but despite his disquiet he did not take further steps as Sri Lanka had assured him the United States and India supported its military campaign, according to a leaked US cable.

"The account of the meeting on March 16, 2009 between Mr. Deng and the US Ambassador to the UN, Susan Rice, as well as other US cables, shows how international inaction and silence, rather than ignorance, made it possible for Sri Lanka to continue and escalate its mass killings of Tamil civilians."

Largely pointing to the ineffective advocacy of Susan Rice in the UN, a Washington Post article in September 2009 said, "[Obama] Administration has pursued a low profile approach to Sri Lanka, where a military offensive against rebels is believed to have killed thousands of civilians," and added that rights advocates have been frustrated by several episodes and said US's new approach has undercut U.S. leadership on human rights issues.

Related Articles:
18.11.12   Politics of Genocide
30.01.12   Boyle: US should publicly accuse Colombo of committing war c..
29.01.12   US's dissonant positions boon to Sri Lanka's war-criminals
27.12.11   Tragedy of US policy on Sri Lanka's war crimes
22.09.11   US cables show how international silence enabled Sri Lanka’s..
09.07.10   Rice stresses war-crimes accountability under international ..
15.06.10   Obama's Genocide Expert meets Mahinda Rajapaksa
23.09.09   US leadership in rights issues questioned
06.05.09   Critical medicine shortage, alarming number of casualties - ..
05.05.09   US responsible, least humanitarian is dropping food: Vanni c..
15.04.09   Sri Lanka, 'Obama's first problem from hell,' ICP says
21.03.09   Ambassador Rice supports UN Council briefing on Sri Lanka
12.03.09   US Legislators point out Sri Lanka's "Red Alert" genocide ra..
05.02.09   U.S. Tamils urge Ambassador Rice to intervene in Sri Lanka
08.12.08   Obama receives guidepost on Genocide

External Links:
WP: All eyes on Susan Rice now that she’s presumptive front-runner
Wiki: A Problem from Hell
ICP: Obama’s first “problem from Hell”


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