Why this vicious attack on Saroja Sirisena? - EDITORIAL

3 June 2020 03:34 am - 18     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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Britain’s Queen Elizabeth 11 meets High Commissioner of Sri Lanka Saroja Sirisena during an audience at Buckingham Palace. (AFP) 

 

There are severe attacks on the newly appointed Sri Lankan High Commissioner in London Saroja Sirisena. There were several attacks on Ms. Sirisena who climbed the ladder in her profession thanks to her educational and professional qualifications at a relatively young age. The attacks were both personal and professional. Some of the attacks were baseless are not related to her professional duties. Yet this is not the first time that Ms. Sirisena became subject to cruel attacks. There were a series of attacks when she was appointed as the Ambassador to Austria in 2019. However it is clear that these attacked are coming not from outside, but within the diplomatic circle itself.


Responding to the latest attack on Ms. Sirisena, the Sri Lanka High Commissioner-designate to the United Kingdom, Ministry of Foreign Relations on last Friday (29) issued a statement. The statement states, “The attention of the Ministry is drawn to news reports appearing in some newspapers and websites with allegations against the present High Commissioner in the UK, regarding her medical treatment”.
“The Ministry wishes to clarify that the procedure and the payment related expenses in this instance had been approved by the Ministry, in accordance with Ministry Circulars, established procedures and based on precedents, including with respect to such treatment received in third countries. All Government officials contribute to a medical scheme  ‘Agrahara’ which they can avail of in Sri Lanka. Similarly, a medical scheme is extended to all home-based officers appointed by the Government of Sri Lanka (GoSL) to Missions abroad, within which the case under reference was granted approval to proceed with an essential medical procedure.”


Referring to the restrictions on public servants and those in the diplomatic services in responding to media, the Foreign Relations Minister stressed, “It is regretted that public officials who cannot engage with media on personal matters, are maligned and subject to violations of their privacy, including attacks on critical medical issues, as in this case.”


With regard to qualifications, Ms. Sirisena has been in foreign service for over two decades. Having joined the service in 1998, during her career, she has served as the Director General Economic Affairs, Director General Public Diplomacy and Spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Relations of Sri Lanka, Consul General of  Sri Lanka in Mumbai, Director General for External Relations in the Ministry of Economic Development of Sri Lanka, Director, South Asia and Director, Consular Affairs of the   Ministry of Foreign Relations of Sri Lanka. Her previous diplomatic posts include Minister Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka to the United Nations Office in Geneva, Minister Counsellor Sri Lanka Embassy in Brussels and First Secretary Sri Lanka Embassy in Paris. Immediately prior to her appointment in London, she served as the  Sri Lankan Ambassador to Austria and as Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the United Nations Office in Vienna. A graduate on political science from the University of Melbourne, Australia Ms. Sirisena has completed post graduate studies at the École nationale d’Administration in France. She is also the daughter of reputed Gynaecologist Dr. L. A. W. Sirisena, who is a teacher to a large number of leading medical practitioners serving both here and the world over.


Among her credible interventions to defend Sri Lanka’s integrity was her strong protest last month to the UK based the Guardian newspaper which had posted a questionable quiz in its online edition using the word ‘Eelam’. Published on May 15 the question read-‘Eelam is an indigenous name for which popular holiday island?’ When a reader selects the correct answer which was Sri Lanka, a further description ‘the full name of the island’s recent military insurgency was LTTE – Liberation Tigers for Tamil Eelam’ appeared. Ms. Sirisena immediately protested to the quiz and in a letter to the editor of the publication had questioned the use of the word ‘Eelam’ as an ancient name for Sri Lanka.


Ms. Sirisena in her letter noted that the LTTE is a banned organisation in many countries, including the UK, and it was wrong to promote their ideology in a publication.
Following her intervention, the Guardian removed the controversial quiz. 

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  Comments - 18

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  • ROYFEDRICKS Wednesday, 03 June 2020 07:02 AM

    BIG DEAL! IS THAT ALL HER DONE AS A DIPLOMAT? JUST PROTESTED AGAINST A USE OF WORD.

    Abey Wednesday, 03 June 2020 07:11 AM

    She gets bad publicity most probably not because she is unqualified but because she carries the name of the most useless President of this country who betrayed millions of his electors. I have no idea if she is related to him or not.

    Wije Wednesday, 03 June 2020 10:14 AM

    Key reasons are that we have a career diplomat as head in a country which is generally given to a political henchmen. Other reason is her prompt action against Guardian paper quiz issue which every one knows who is behind. Previous person was silent at the time of last year April attack when false news was publish which shows how effective Ms Sirisena.

    Chandra Wednesday, 03 June 2020 10:39 AM

    It is regrettable that a woman diplomat with high credentials and courage to speak up against certain elements in the diaspora has been under attack. As an expat who has lived abroad for close to 50 years, I am glad that at last we have a female diplomat doing her work well. Some Sri Lankans do not respect women. This is shown in the lack of the number of women politicians in Parliament. I hope the new President will appreciate the work of women and give them more opportunities to show their intelligence and skill. Recently, we have seen that the top five world leaders who controlled the spread of Covid -19 were women. Need I say more?

    I O Sirisena Wednesday, 03 June 2020 12:11 PM

    I don no why..ohoma whene aye...??? It,s because of the name missey ...."sirisena" that's why....S I R I S E N A. . . .

    dickie bird Wednesday, 03 June 2020 12:22 PM

    Majority of Sri Lankans have this pulling syndrome. Either they want their man for their personal gains or jealousy. We Sri Lankans do not know how to work around or with a person and specially when it is a local or a female. Our own short comings brings us down with tell tale stories.

    Chandra Mendis Wednesday, 03 June 2020 03:44 PM

    This lady is a good career diplomat . She has worked hard against the negativity of the diaspora already in her appointment . During my 43 years in UK I have not seen many proactive diplomats , we are fortunate to have a lady like Saroja Sirisena but it is a shame some people are trying to ruin her image and the good work. May she has the courage and strength to continue with her good work .

    Pahala Muhandram Wednesday, 03 June 2020 04:32 PM

    SIRISENA is the MOST HATRED and SHAMEFUL name in SL now due to the last HITU BOGGA PREZ who did Destroy our kantri. This lady is not from that uneducated chain. Sorry, change the name to something else.

    Dingiri banda Wednesday, 03 June 2020 04:48 PM

    Repy to Wije, perhaps you have forgotten, its the job of every HC to defend the country, its not something done as a hobby. Previous High Commissioners including her predecessor, who was a thorough professional, defended the country very credibly and professionally, especially during April Easter Attacks with very measured interviews given to BBC, SKY ect.. same goes for few good ones previously like Chris N and Shenuka. Defending joke quiz in Guardian though commendable cannot be compared

    Gamini Tillekeratne Wednesday, 03 June 2020 05:27 PM

    LTTE s a banned terrorist org.No one s allow to use elam label for propaganda . Don't worry. Stand for your country s sovereignty. Well done

    Edmond Wednesday, 03 June 2020 06:26 PM

    Kudos to her a genuine patriot. We need more people like her in our foreign service a time like this when LTTE diaspora and their backers raising their heads.

    Anoma Silva Wednesday, 03 June 2020 09:39 PM

    A very commendable appointment. A lady with a knowledge of interenational affairs and. SL history as I watched her interviewed by a Pakistan media. Well deserved to hold the post. The best diplomat that SL could have.

    Dravid Bakmeena Thursday, 04 June 2020 11:26 AM

    while we should all appreciate a lady like her a carrier diplomat not a political pawn, the foreign ministry still has to explain how does the medical insurance cover include the business class air ticket at such high cost? Also as I understand it is for them to take treatment in the country of overseas work -Austria which has one of the best medical facilities in europe and not fly to USA?

    Gratiaen Hewa Thursday, 04 June 2020 11:36 AM

    Agree with you "aiyo Sirisena".Problem with her because of the name S I R I S.E N A , I suppose!

    Indika Rodrigo Thursday, 04 June 2020 01:15 PM

    Nevertheless this could very well be a inside job to tarnish the good image of a career diplomat to use to their advantage in a short sited struggle, so that they can have the job as a political appointment. Only person who will benifit from this is someone who conveniently greedy for her job H. E GR vision is to give the right job to the right person thus appointed H.E Saroja Sirisena to London. Indika Ridtigo London

    hitan Friday, 05 June 2020 08:00 AM

    president GR must stop appointing political ball suckers as diplomats. International relations,diplomacy,and governence is a seperate specialty now, and there are career diplomats who should be appointed for these posts.

    Rani Mendis Sunday, 07 June 2020 09:19 PM

    Aiyyo, the woman has nothing to do with Sirisena. She is a career diplomat. Saroja Sirisena is not a political stooge the best thing that happened to UK SL HC.

    SL UK Sunday, 07 June 2020 09:24 PM

    Why don't people read who she is before condemning her. Political stooges are those rude useless lazy people who work in the UK HC. Ms Sirisena is the best thing that has happened to the SL HC in UK


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