Sri Lanka grateful for Saudi support at UN

Updated 01 April 2014
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Sri Lanka grateful for Saudi support at UN

The Sri Lankan government praised Saudi Arabia’s crucial support in its fight against terror and civil war between the majority Sinahlese and ethnic Tamil communities in Sri Lanka during a voting session at the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva on Thursday.
“We are grateful for the Saudi support at the key UN vote which concluded in Geneva last week,” Abdul Hameed Mohamed Fowzie, senior minister for Urban Affairs told Arab News from Colombo on Sunday.
The US-initiated resolution was carried out at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva with 23 votes in favor and 12 against the resolution.
Saudi Arabia, UAE and Pakistan were among 12 countries that sided with Sri Lanka. India and 11 other states abstained from voting although the resolution was approved on Thursday with 23 votes in favor of the resolution.
The latest resolution asked UN rights Chief Navi Pillay to probe the actions of both government forces and Tamil rebels during a seven-year period leading up to the end of Sri Lanka’s 37-year-old Tamil separatist war.
About 40,000 ethnic Tamil civilians were said to have been killed by government forces in the final months of fighting, a charge Colombo has vehemently denied.
Sri Lanka has also said it needs more time to effect reconciliation between the ethnic Tamil minority and the majority Sinhalese community.
Speaking to Arab News, Fowzie said that the Kingdom has always been supportive of Sri Lanka at all international forums. “Both countries have been victims of terror and Sri Lanka has been suffering from terror for well over three decades,” the minister said, adding that his government would push on with reconciliation efforts in its bid to maintain transparency.
The minister said that he hopes to visit the Kingdom shortly to hand over a letter from his country’s President Mahinda Rajapaksa to the high officials to express his government’s appreciation to the Saudi leadership for voting in favor of Sri Lanka.
Two weeks before the voting, Fowzie held talks with Crown Prince Salman, deputy premier and minister of defense, on matters of mutual cooperation. Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse, who rejected the UN call for an investigation against his country, said he was pleased that India, which voted for a similar resolution last year, decided to abstain this time round.
“I think it is encouraging that India did not vote against us,” he said shortly after the results of the vote were announced on Thursday.
“We reject this (resolution),” Rajapakse said. “This resolution only hurts our reconciliation efforts. It does not help. But I am not discouraged. We will continue with the reconciliation process I have started.”
External Affairs Minister Professor G.L. Peiris said yesterday the outcome of the vote on the US sponsored resolution at the UN Human Rights Commission reflects that more countries are against the US at the Human Rights Council in Geneva.
Prof. Peris stressed that the US resolution was voted for with a majority of 25 last year but it has dropped to 23.
The number of countries against the resolution is greater than those supporting it, he said. He made these observations at a press conference at Peacock Hotel, Hambantota. Professor Peiris said that another development is that India which voted for the US during the last two years, abstained from voting this year.


Police in Philippine town on the rack for anti-rape advice

The mainly Catholic Philippines, a former US colony, prides itself on its culture of promoting gender equality. (REUTERS)
Updated 19 July 2018
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Police in Philippine town on the rack for anti-rape advice

  • Nationwide rape cases were down 29 percent from a year earlier in the first three months of 2018 but did not give figures
  • Philippine police chief Oscar Albayalde sought to play down the rape advice controversy

MANILA: Police in a Philippine town have told women to shun skimpy clothing to avoid rape, sparking outrage in a country that prides itself as an early Asian adopter of liberal Western cultural values.
Women’s groups demanded that police take down Tuesday’s “victim-blaming” anti-rape advice. But it remained on a police social media site Wednesday, with the national police chief calling it “brotherly advice.”
“Don’t wear skimpy clothing,” warned the 10-point posting on the official Facebook page of the police force of Angono, a town on Manila’s outskirts.
“When on a date, don’t drink alcohol,” read the list, which also urged women to learn self-defense, carry tear gas or pepper spray and not to walk alone in the dark.
“Clothes don’t cause rape, rapists do,” Senator Risa Hontiveros said in a statement.
“Instead of ‘teaching’ women how to dress ‘appropriately’ and limit our choices, our police force should help in educating the public, especially men,” she added.
The mainly Catholic Philippines, a former US colony, prides itself on its culture of promoting gender equality.
But critics allege it took a step backward by electing President Rodrigo Duterte, known for his inflammatory remarks about women.
During the 2016 election campaign Duterte joked during a speech that he “should have been first” while recalling the rape and murder of an Australian female lay minister in a 1989 prison riot.
Early this year Duterte said he would tell soldiers to shoot female communist rebels in their private parts because “if there is no vagina, (the woman) has no use.”
Philippine police chief Oscar Albayalde sought to play down the rape advice controversy.
“They (women) can have it their own way, they just have to make precautions and probably you should dress in accordance with the place, with the occasion,” he told reporters.
“I think that’s what our policemen are trying to say, just brotherly advice,” said Albayalde.
He said nationwide rape cases were down 29 percent from a year earlier in the first three months of 2018 but did not give figures.