The government says it understands that those who are demonstrating outside the UN office in Colombo intend to continue with their protest until the UN system revisits the matter of the Panel on Sri Lanka.
A statement by the government information department said the government hopes that the UN complex in Colombo would continue to function as normal in the days ahead. It also said that while the protest continues the freedom of entry and exit to and from the complex for authorized personnel will remain constant.
“The Government of Sri Lanka dealt with the protest outside the UN complex in Colombo today, in compliance with both domestic as well as international obligations. At the domestic level, Sri Lanka being a democratic society, the Government had to respect the entitlement to voice opinion, including through peaceful demonstrations. Accordingly, the Police permitted a peaceful gathering in front of the complex.
The Government was also absolutely mindful of its international obligations and so the Police authorities deployed adequate strength and remained vigilant, to ensure the safety of the UN complex and of the personnel within it. At the end of the working day, the Police authorities provided reassurance to those within, that they could freely leave their work place. Once the bulk of the staff had left, a few senior personnel remained within the complex. Those demonstrating had expressed the wish that they should be able to speak to a person in authority in the UN office, in order to convey their deeply felt reservations against the appointment of a Panel on Sri Lanka.
The Secretary of the Ministry of External Affairs was accordingly instructed to proceed to the UN complex, so that a very limited number of demonstrators could meet the senior staff and express their sentiments. Once this was accomplished, the remaining UN staff too left the complex,” the government information department said.