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Ceylonese bishop defends govt against UN criticism: The Church of England Newspaper, September 13, 2013 p 6. September 12, 2013

Posted by geoconger in Church of Ceylon, Church of England Newspaper, UN.
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The Church of Ceylon’s Bishop of Kurunegala, the Rt. Rev. Shantha Francis has chastised critics of administration of Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse, saying Tamil and Sinhalese citizens of the island nation enjoyed full and equal civil rights.

The bishop’s comments as reported by the Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation (SLBC) on 26 August 2013 came at the start of a six day visit by UN human rights chief Navi Pillay to the country.

Speaking at a 31 August press conference Ms. Pillay stated that democracy activists lived in a climate of fear. Some who who met or wanted to meet her during the visit had been threatened by security forces, she said, and critical voices in Sri Lanka are “quite often attacked or even permanently silenced”.

Polly Truscott, Amnesty International’s Deputy Asia Pacific Director endorsed Ms. Pillay’s findings. Her “take on the human rights situation during her visit very much echoes our own findings. Being critical of government policy in Sri Lanka is highly risky, and the extent to which people are being harassed into silence is shocking.”

However, the SLBC said Bishop Francis had likened the president to King Dutugemunu, a second Century BC Sinhalese king who drove out Tamil invaders.

The bishop rejected claims there was no freedom in Sri Lanka, saying the government’s economic development programme benefited Sinhalese and Tamils, while “freedom of democracy is now prevailing in the country.”

Sri Lanka was “fortunate” to have a president who treated all ethnic groups equally, the bishop is claimed to have said. However Amnesty International’s Polly Truscott declared: “The UN and Commonwealth must respond effectively to these latest concerns raised by Pillay.”


Archbishop Tutu attacks UN collusion with African dictator: The Church of England Newspaper, June 17, 2010 June 18, 2010

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Church of the Province of West Africa, Corruption, UN.
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President Teodoro Obiang of Equitorial Guinea

First published in The Church of England Newspaper.

Nobel laureate and former Archbishop of Cape Town Desmond Tutu has criticized UNESCO, the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization, for agreeing to sponsor a prize named in honour of the dictator of Equatorial Guinea, President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo.

On June 11 Archbishop Tutu released an open letter to UNESCO saying he was “appalled” that the UN was “allowing itself to burnish the unsavory reputation of a dictator.”

The UNESCO-Obiang Nguema Mbasogo International Prize for Research in the Life Sciences was created to recognize “scientific achievements that improve the quality of human life” and the first award is expected to be made this month.

Human Rights groups and anti-corruption campaigners have accused Mr. Obiang of embezzling hundreds of millions of dollars from the treasury of his oil-rich West African state, while the majority of its people live in abject poverty.  Mr. Obiang seized power from his uncle in 1979 and was re-elected last year with 95 per cent of the vote.

“The rule of President Obiang,” Archbishop Tutu said, “has been marked by corruption and abuse.”

He called upon UNESCO to use the Obiang prize’s £2 million endowment “to benefit the people of Equatorial Guinea—from whom these funds have been taken—rather than to glorify their president.”

“The people of Equatorial Guinea should share in the wealth generated by their country’s huge oil reserves. Instead, they endure poverty and oppression. Their president and his associates enjoy lavish homes and trips abroad, and money that should go to the people winds its way to private bank accounts,” the former archbishop said.

The American ambassador to UNESCO on June 14 sent a letter to the organization’s director general backing Archbishop Tutu’s call to suspend the Obiang prize.  Ambassador David T. Killion said that a suspension would give time “for quiet consultations among member states to find a way forward,” consistent with UNESCO’s “basic values.”

Call for Muslim representation on UN Security Council: CEN 9.28.08 September 28, 2008

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Church of the Province of South East Asia, Islam, Politics, UN.
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Fairness dictates that Muslims must be given their own seat on the UN’s Security Council, Indonesia’s foreign minister told the General Assembly in New York on Sept 27.

Hassan Wirajuda (pictured) urged the reform of the 15-member Security Council, saying the five permanent members wielded too much power. Reform also meant “an equitable distribution of its membership – not only in terms of geographical representation, where we already have imbalances – but also in terms of constituencies. Hence, the world’s major civilizations should be proportionately represented,” he said.

There appears to be little appetite, however, among the five permanent members of the Council, or among other states to expand the Council’s veto-wielding members, with Uruguay’s foreign minister saying his country opposed special seats on the Security Council for Muslims or any other group.

Read it all in The Church of England Newspaper.

Call for Muslim representation on UN Security Council

The Anglican Observer to the United Nations September 28, 2008

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Album (Photos), Church of the Province of Uganda, UN.
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Mrs. Hellen Wangusa of Uganda, Anglican Observer to the UN