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sithamuI wrote a couple of weeks back about ‘nasty personal attacks on the UN leadership in Sri Lanka during the conflict’ and noted that long ago I had ‘suggested that we should highlight the positive input of senior UN officials and question the UN as to why their reports had been ignored’. This was prompted by a report by a Britisher called Julian Vigo that used allegations by junior personnel in the UN system to claim that senior UN officials were complicit in abuses that they claimed had occurred during the conflict period.

Given the potential danger this represented, I wrote to the Secretary to the President to remind him of how we had failed to strengthen links with senior members of the UN who worked in terms of the UN mandate to assist us with humanitarian needs whilst also upholding basic principles of human rights. I added that ‘Time is running out, and no one has any sense of urgency’ but, given the time usually taken for responses within our governmental system, I suppose I should not be surprised that he has not been able to suggest remedial action.

I hope however that he realizes the need for him to act expeditiously, given that the President, obviously realizing the incapacity of the Ministry of External Affairs to which he had initially entrusted the job, finally entrusted preparation of an Action Plan for the LLRC Recommendations to his Secretary. As usual when he puts his mind to things, Mr Weeratunge turned up trumps. Since however implementation has also been entrusted to him, he must realize that a clear system of monitoring progress and improving on it is vital, and he is clearly the only person able to ensure this at this stage.

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Rajiva Wijesinha

January 2013
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