The United Nations says its security officials are monitoring comments made by government Minister Wimal Weerawansa who had today urged the public to surround the UN office in Colombo and hold its staff hostage until moves by the UN to appoint a panel on Sri Lanka is dropped.
When asked by a journalist from Innercitypress at a press briefing at the UN in New York a short while ago to respond to the comments made by Weerawansa as appearing on Daily Mirror online today, UN spokesman Farhan Haq said the UN had contacted the Sri Lankan government over the article and the government has assured the UN that the comments made by Weerawansa was his “individual opinion”.
“Our security officials are aware of these remarks and they will check if this official was quoted correctly and what he meant by that. The government of Sri Lanka has assured us that this was an individual’s opinion and not their policy,” the UN spokesman said.
The UN spokesman also said that New York had contacted the UN office in Colombo to verify the report and added that at the moment there was no immediate threat as a result of the comments made by the government Minister. He however noted that in general the UN does not condone or accept threats made on UN staff anywhere be it by officials or anyone else.
Meanwhile U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told Reuters in an interview today there was no reason for the Sri Lankan government's angry reaction to the formation of a U.N. advisory panel on possible war crimes at the end of Sri Lanka's war against rebels.
Last week U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon named a three-member panel chaired by Indonesia's former attorney general, Marzuki Darusman, to advise him whether war crimes were committed in the final months of Sri Lanka's war against the separatists Tamil Tigers, which it won in May 2009.
But Sri Lanka's government has rejected Ban's panel and said it would not issue visas to its three members.
"There is no reason why (the) Sri Lankan government (is) reacting negatively to my proposal," Ban told Reuters in an interview in the capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo, which is celebrating 50 years of independence.
He said Sri Lanka "should take all the measures to make it accountable for all these perpetrators who have committed and violated international human rights and humanitarian law."
The government had urged Ban not to appoint the advisory panel, saying it had its own commission to investigate possible human rights violations at the end of its quarter century war with the Tamil Tigers.
Ban said now it was the right time for Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa "to demonstrate his commitment to the values of human rights." (Daily Mirror online)
Wimal's threat: http://www.dailymirror.lk/index.php/news/4739-take-un-staff-hostage.html