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Pressure piles on Ban over Silva appointment

The decision to appoint Major General Shavendra Silva of the Sri Lankan Army to the UN Special Advisory Group on Peace Keeping Operations has come under fire, as pressure increases on the UN to review the appointment.

The US Ambassador to the UN, Susan Rice was earlier quoted as saying,

"It's very concerning that someone with his background would be selected to serve on this advisory group. We have conveyed this to member states, as well as to the Secretariat.

There are a lot of efforts underway to address [this], probably best not to be discussed publicly."

UN Secretary General Ban-Ki Moon has been criticsed for the move, with Phillipe Bolopion, the UN representative for Human Rights Watch saying,

"The responsibility for this puzzling appointment lays squarely with the Asia Group, but ultimately Ban Ki-moon established the panel and has to safeguard the reputation and credibility of the United Nations."

The statement comes as Sri Lanka responded angrily to the growing furore surrounding Silva's apppointment. Silva commented that he believed a foreign journalist at the UN was out to discredit him and Sri Lanka.

Earlier this month, the Sri Lankan Mission to the UN wrote to Inner City Press’s Matthew Russell Lee accusing him of attempting to “emulate Goebbels”. See the letter here which was also sent to the Spokesman for the UN Secretary-General and United Nations Correspondents Association.

See Inner City press’s response here.

Also see our earlier posts:

Navi Pillay raises concerns over General Silva at UN (14 Feb 2012)

Human rights groups condemn Shavendra Silva's appointment to UN (28 Jan 2012)