Sri Lanka UN office ‘blockade’ dismays diplomats

July 10, 2010 (LBO) – Diplomats in Colombo have called upon the government to ensure the security of United National staff and expressed dismay at a ‘blockade’ of its premises in Sri Lanka. Wimal Weerawansa, a government minister who called on protestors to surround the UN office is on fast in front of the UN compound in Colombo and last week UN staffers were able to leave the premises with the help of the police.

“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,” envoys of the United States, European Union, Germany, UK, France, Italy, Switzerland, Romania, the Netherlands and Norway said.

“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.” The statement welcomed a meeting set for Monday between the dean of the diplomatic corps and Sri Lanka’s foreign