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UN has doubts

26 August 2010 05:50 pm - 3     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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By Jamila Najmuddin


Outgoing UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator John Holmes, in a farewell press briefing with the UN press corps in New York a short while ago, said that a lot of questions still remain despite the end of the war in Sri Lanka.

Holmes said that during his term as the UN Humanitarian Affairs official the UN faced extremely difficult issues in Sri Lanka but yet managed to play the advocacy role in the island in an objective manner during and after the war despite the pressures on the ground.

Responding to a question raised by a reporter, Holmes said that during the war the UN came under pressure while trying to balance the heavy propaganda by both the government and the LTTE and in trying to help the victims directly affected by the conflict.

He also noted that the worst that was expected following the war did not take place and most of the Internally Displaced People (IDP) have gone home so on a whole the UN managed to get “more right than wrong” done through its humanitarian work in Sri Lanka.

The outgoing UN official however said that a lot of questions remain unanswered including matters relating to civilian casualties. Among those questions, Holmes, said were if the government shelled civilian areas during the war.

He also noted that the assassination of 17 aid workers attached to Action Against Hunger (ACF) in Muttur was not properly investigated.

However reacting strongly to these allegations, Media Minister and Defence Spokesperson Keheliya Rambukwella told Daily Mirror online that it was 'unethical' for Mr. Holmes to raise such allegations especially when a commission was in process.

"We have a commission which is in process and rather than commenting on us, Mr. Holmes should be looking into affairs in his own country," Minister Rambukwella said.

Further commenting on the ACF allegation that proper investigations were not conducted, the Minister once again called this an 'unethical' statement saying the country had a vibrant judiciary in place. (Daily Mirror online)

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  Comments - 3

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  • Nuwan Warawita Friday, 27 August 2010 06:19 AM

    Now he can join elder's group if he so much disire to commente on Sri Lanka.

    raj Thursday, 26 August 2010 09:22 PM

    Am disappointed with the UN's inaction in finding answers for these concerns.

    Nishantha Friday, 27 August 2010 12:13 AM

    John, you should also ask about General Sarath Fonseka - why the war hero is being kept in prison. Ask the 'thief king' whether he only hated Prabakaran and embraces all other Tigers.


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