STATEMENT BY HEADS OF MISSION OF GERMANY, UK, US, FRANCE, ITALY, SWITZERLAND, THE NETHERLANDS, ROMANIA, NORWAY AND THE EU DELEGATION
We are deeply dismayed by the blockade of the UN-compound this week in Colombo and the role played in it by a Government minister.
Peaceful protest is part of any democracy, but blocking access to the United Nations – of which Sri Lanka itself is a member – as well as intimidating and harassing UN personnel is a breach of international norms and harmful to Sri Lanka’s reputation in the world.
We call upon the government of Sri Lanka to take all appropriate steps to ensure the safety and security of UN personnel and premises.
We welcome the meeting scheduled on Monday between the Dean of the diplomatic corps and the Foreign Minister to discuss this issue.
To be sure, this kind of support for the UN is welcome. But being “dismayed” is not the same thing as “condemning.” Also, there is nothing in the statement that expresses support for accountability for war crimes in Sri Lanka — which is, after all, the underlying reason for the anti-UN protests.
Why not demand the Sri Lankan take steps to ensure that those who massacred tens of thousands of civilians last year face some sort of justice? And should the government fail to do so, why not spell out the kinds of diplomatic consequences this group is willing to impose on a recalcitrant Sri Lankan government?