Sri Lanka UN representative recalled amid war crimes row

UNITED NATIONS, July 8, 2010 (AFP) – UN chief Ban Ki-moon recalled Thursday his main representative in Sri Lanka and closed down offices in Colombo that have been the scene of angry protests over a United Nations war crimes panel. “The secretary-general finds it unacceptable that the Sri Lankan authorities have failed to prevent the disruption of the normal functioning of the United Nations offices in Colombo as a result of unruly protests organized and led by a cabinet minister of the government,” his spokesman said.

As a result, Ban had recalled UN resident coordinator Neil Buhne to New York and shut down the regional center of the United Nations Development Programme in the capital Colombo, the spokesman’s statement said.

Ban named a three-member panel last month to advise on “accountability issues” during the war between government forces and the Tamil Tiger separatists, which ended in May last year.

The protests against the UN are widely seen as having the tacit support of the government.

“The secretary-general calls upon the Government of Sri Lanka to live up to its responsibilities towards the United Nations as host country, so as to ensure continuation of the vital work of the organization to assis