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SRI LANKA’S FAILURE TO PREVENT DISRUPTION OF UN WORK ‘UNACCEPTABLE’ – BAN

By UN

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today called on the Sri Lankan Government to ensure that the United Nations can carry out its work in the country without disruption, after a cabinet minister announced he is staging a hunger strike outside its offices in Colombo which have been the scene of protests for several days.

“The Secretary-General finds it unacceptable that the Sri Lankan authorities have failed to prevent the disruption of the normal functioning of the United Nations offices in Colombo as a result of unruly protests organized and led by a cabinet minister of the Government,” a statement issued by his spokesperson said.

The protests in the capital, in which hundreds of people took part, were led by Housing Minister Wimal Weerawansa, who reportedly said today he will not eat until the UN disbands the advisory panel it set up last month.

Mr. Ban set up the three-member panel to advise him on accountability issues relating to alleged violations of international human rights and humanitarian law during the final stages of the conflict that ended last year between the Government and the rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

“The Secretary-General calls upon the Government of Sri Lanka to live up to its responsibilities towards the United Nations as host country, so as to ensure continuation of the vital work of the Organization to assist the people of Sri Lanka without any further hindrance,” said the statement.

It added that in light of the evolving situation, Mr. Ban is recalling the UN Resident Coordinator in Sri Lanka, Neil Buhne, to New York for consultations.

He has also decided to close the Regional Centre in Colombo of the UN Development Programme (UNDP). Accra / Ghana/ Africa / Modernghana.com