[in case she does not go back to sleep, that is]
Navi Pillay, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has said it: ‘Drone raids violate human rights!’ That’s just one news story. Most have reported that what Pillay said was, ‘drone attacks raise legal questions’.
This is June, 2012. The United States Government has sanctioned hundreds of drone attacks on targets in Pakistan. Drones have been launched against targets in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Yemen as well. It didn’t begin the day before Navi Pillay woke up and decided to check out what was happening in parts of the world she’s turned a blind eye on ever since she was appointed, i.e. on September 1, 2008.
Thousands have perished and although the US Government says it was all ‘just and legal’, the truth that Pillay seems to have missed is that the Pakistani military and political authorities were kept in the dark about these attacks and worse the majority of victims were non-combatants.
The world knows that the USA gets away with murder and I am not speaking metaphorically. It’s sidekick nation Britain too has proved to be adept at the game called ‘Murder-and-then-Scot-Free’. What is surprising is Pillay deciding to look-see at what the entire world knows is happening in the unhappy places so far away from the USA where innocent people ‘need’ to be killed in their thousands so that the USA can live in peace.
Let’s say that the lady can be excused for not knowing anything about human rights before she landed the big job in the HRC. Let’s assume that she couldn’t be bothered about these things until she got a letter with a Job Description that included keeping eye on conflict and making sure that rules are followed. The world knew, though, that the USA has been using drones since 2004. The problem with Pillay is that she seems to have been tongue tied for 3 years, 9 months and 4 days about the horrendous crimes against humanity perpetrated by the USA in Pakistan (never mind what they’ve done and do in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya etc.). So tongue tied that when that organ got moving it could only utter vague conjecture, i.e. ‘raises legal questions’.
Now we could say that’s all diplo-speak and that understatement is the official language of the UN system, except that the lady is known to be quite the spitting and snarling type when it comes allegations of violations supposedly perpetrated by countries and groups the USA does not see eye to eye with. So what’s it with Pillay? Why this two-tone system of statement-making?
Reverend Jesse Jackson said unequivocally in Geneva (yes, he had to be pushed by Rajpal Abeynayake to address the issue)that those who own the drones are violators of human rights. If Pillay is looking for a cue, that statement would suffice, I am sure.
So when is Pillay going to meet Ban Ki-moon and tell him to tell the USA where to get off? When is she going to photocopy a page from her operational directives on things related to Sri Lanka and threaten the USA with dire consequences if it did not allow an impartial group to visit these tragic countries and report to her (or Ban Ki-moon) about the blood and tears of the dead, dying and bereaved?
When, Ms. Navi Pially, when?
And what, Ms. Pillay, what will you do next? We are waiting here with baited breath.
[Also check 'Editor's Blog' in The Nation website]