A leaked United Nations report into the final days of the bloody three-decade long civil war in Sri Lanka claims that representatives of the world body were intimidated into understating the level of violence against the civilian population.
If true — the report so far has only been seen by the British Broadcast Corporation — it represents a sad indictment of the UN itself. That the Colombo regime engaged in tactics of intimidation should not come as a surprise. By its very nature, civil war is an ugly and vicious beast, and the governing authority in any stricken land would likely engage in activities to intimidate and cajole.
But what is noteworthy is that the UN officials on the ground ceded to the efforts and actions of intimidation, abandoning the civilian population as the final bloody engagements were under way, opening the door for both sides in the long-running civil war to engage in acts of brutality and barbarity.
The Sri Lankan military and LTTE fighters acted with a ferociousness which resulted in scant regard for preserving life. That the UN was not there to prevent it is indeed a failing.