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Two sources abroad have now brought to my attention a recent report on Sri Lanka produced by an organization called ‘Country of Origin Research and Information’. Unfortunately both told me this was a report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. This is not the case, and indeed the UNHCR Representative in Sri Lanka knew nothing of the report when I called him on April 26th. He then looked further into the matter and sent me a note about such reports on the 27th, which repeated what the front page of the Report itself says, that the views in it ‘are those of the author and are not necessarily those of UNHCR’.

It was kind of him to respond so soon, and I certainly do not think he should be blamed for the type of reporting that goes on. But it would be desirable for Sri Lanka, as a member state of the United Nations, to look into a situation that allows selective reporting about a country, reporting that seems deficient in accuracy, sensitivity and relevance. The UN should not spend enormous amounts of time and money on regurgitating prejudice that is not germane to its job. 

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Rajiva Wijesinha

April 2010
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