Sequel to Sri Lanka’s vehement opposition:
Top UN officials’ contradictions
Several top officials of the United Nations (UN), including its
Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, have conducted themselves in a
questionable manner, contradicting their own statements after Sri Lanka
vehemently objected to the UN’s decision to appoint a three-member
committee on alleged war crimes.
Though the UN founded in 1945 aimed at facilitating cooperation in
international law, international security, economic development, social
progress, human rights, and achieving world peace, Ki-moon and certain
UN officials here and abroad have conducted themselves in a highly
questionable manner during and after Sri Lanka’s relentless battle
Following the fast unto death campaign by National Freedom Front (NFF)
Leader Wimal Weerawansa and the peaceful protest close to the UN office
in Bauddhaloka Mawatha near Thunmulla Junction, certain UN officials
made desperate attempts to link the developments in Colombo with a
previous decision to close the United Nations Development Program (UNDP)
office in Sri Lanka.
The Government strongly disputed a move by Ki-moon to link the
closure of the UNDP Regional Office in Colombo with the protests against
the UN in Colombo over his arbitrary decision to delve into alleged war
crime charges against Sri Lanka’s valiant Security Forces.
Though certain UN officials had attempted to paint a bleak picture
and said that the closure of the UNDP Office was due to the protest
campaign near the UN office at Thunmulla Junction, the UNDP office in
Sri Lanka is at Independence Avenue, Colombo 7.
Informed sources said the government and the diplomatic community
here had been aware of the UN decision last year to relocate the UNDP
Regional Office in Bangkok as part of its cost cutting program.
Some UNDP employees in Colombo had been even granted fresh
appointments in UN agencies in Sri Lanka over the past few months.
But the UN Secretary General contradicted this on Thursday and said
that the disruption of UN operations in Colombo due to the protest
campaign forced them to shut down the UNDP Regional Centre and recall UN
Resident Coordinator, Neil Buhne to New York for “urgent consultations”.
The UNDP Regional Centre had been earlier in Kathmandu and was moved
to Colombo a few years ago due to the political unrest in Nepal.
The UN took a decision to relocate the UNDP office in Colombo during
the height of the LTTE terror attacks in 2006. A diplomatic source in
Colombo alleged that the UNSG had made “an obvious bid to deceive the
international community” as part of a plan to exert pressure on Sri
This was proved beyond doubt after UN officials in New York
contradicted their Colombo-based official’s statement within hours.
Earlier on Friday, the UN office in Colombo said that preparations were
under way for several months to close the UNDP Regional Centre in Sri
Lanka and it was not linked to the NFF protest.
“To my knowledge, the closure of the UNDP Regional Centre has nothing
to do with this current issue because it has been on the cards for
It is not a new move,” an official of the UN mission was quoted as
saying. However, hours later, UN Associate spokesman Farhan Haq told
reporters in New York that the two incidents were linked to each other.
He said that following the protests in Colombo the UN Secretary
General had decided to shut down the UNDP Regional Centre.
[Weerawansa ends fast-unto-death]
NFF Leader and Engineering Services, Housing, Construction and Common
Amenities Minister Wimal Weerawansa was forced to abandon his
fast-unto-death protest campaign against the step taken by UN Secretary
General Ban Ki-moon in appointing an experts’ panel on Sri Lanka after
President Mahinda Rajapaksa visited the scene and offered him a glass of
king coconut (thambili) water. Minister Weerawansa, whose health
condition deteriorated with a reported kidney problem, accepted the
drink offered by President Rajapaksa.
The NFF leader was later driven
away in an ambulance to hospital. Weerawansa’s resignation from the
Cabinet portfolio on Friday was not accepted by President Rajapaksa. The
Minister began his fast-unto-death campaign opposite the UN Country
Office in Colombo on Thursday, demanding that UN Secretary General to
abolish the advisory panel on Sri Lanka.
[Ban Ki-moon softens stance ]
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has softened his stance following
huge opposition from Sri Lanka, its friendly countries and the
In his latest statement issued in New York, the UN Secretary General
said that he appointed a three-member advisory panel to become the
“resource available to assist the Government of Sri Lanka and the
Commission on Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation in applying the
international best practice in this regard”. Ki-moon said that the
three-member panel appointed by him on Sri Lanka has been set up to
advise him with regard to taking forward the objectives of the joint
statement on May 23, 2009 between Sri Lanka and the UN and is not an
In a new statement released from New York, the UN
Chief said that the panel itself will advise him on the modalities,
applicable international standards and comparative experience relevant
to an accountability process.