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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2957

Sri Lanka reprimands UNICEF for its staff’s participation in a public demonstration in Colombo

Colombo, 24 November, ( Sri Lanka’s Acting Foreign Secretary summoned the Country Representative of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in Colombo to the Ministry on 22nd November 2007 and expressed serious concern on the participation of several members of its staff, including the international staff, at a recent public demonstration in Colombo.

He pointed out that this act was in violation of the mandate of the UNICEF and was beyond the scope of its legitimate functions. The Country Representative was requested to take appropriate action against the staff members who participated in the demonstration including the withdrawal of the concerned international staff and the termination of local staff .

The UNICEF Country Representative acknowledged the participation of some of its staff and assured that it would not be repeated in the future. He further added that an inquiry was presently being carried out by the Department of Human Resources of the United Nations and undertook to keep the Foreign Ministry informed of developments.

Earlier this week, UNICEF had issued a press release on the safety and security of its work and its staff in Sri Lanka in the light of recent accusations leveled against the Organization. The Acting Foreign Secretary confirmed that the UNICEF security concerns were conveyed to the respective authorities to take necessary measures.

As a confidence building measure, the UNICEF Representative informed that although there is no evidence of any illegal transactions that had taken place between the UNICEF and the Tamil Rehabilitation Organization (TRO), the UN Headquarters would carry out a full audit in a transparent manner with regard to the alleged involvement of UNICEF in TRO projects. The Representative further informed that the outcome of the audit will be shared with the Government of Sri Lanka.

- Asian Tribune -

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