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Where in the world is the Security Council?

May 4, 2009

After months of violent conflict, tens of thousands of civilians still remain trapped inside an ever-smaller conflict zone in north-eastern Sri Lanka.

The Sri Lankan government has rejected calls for a cease-fire, claiming to be within days of securing a military victory. The Sri Lankan government has said it will consider amnesty for some of the Tamil Tigers (the rebel group fighting the government) who surrender, but not for senior leaders of the movement.

Meanwhile, the U.N. Security Council, which remains “remains mired in debates,” has failed in its’ “responsibility to protect,” says Gareth Evans, president of the International Crisis Group and one of the chief architects of R2P.

Both the Sri Lankan government and the Tamil Tigers have violated the laws of war. As such, the responsibility to protect civilians in Sri Lanka is in the hands of the U.N. Security Council, which despite its flaws, is the authoritative body on global peace and security issues.

As the Sri Lankan government continues shelling civilian populated areas – clearly in violation of the laws of war – with little condemnation from the Security Council, one has to wonder whether they are up to the job. As Evans notes, “Its relative silence is a matter for growing shame with each passing day.”

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