September 7, 2009 (AFP) – Sri Lanka is reviewing a move to expel a senior United Nations official over comments he made during the final weeks of the country’s decades long ethnic war, a senior official said Monday. James Elder, communications chief for the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), was ordered out of the country for allegedly being biased towards the separatist Tamil Tiger rebels.
“Mr. Elder’s case is under review,” Sri Lanka’s foreign secretary Palitha Kohona told AFP.
The move comes after UNICEF on Sunday sought more details on Elder’s visa status after immigration officials instructed him to leave within two weeks.
“They (UNICEF) are talking to us, and we are listening,” Kohona said.
An Australian passport holder, Elder had been working for UNICEF in Sri Lanka since July last year and had a residency visa valid until 2010.
He and other aid officials spoke on civilian casualties towards the end of the war, before Sri Lankan troops finally beat the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in a massive offensive in May to end decades of fighting.
Sri Lanka took a dim view of international criticism over its conduct of the war. The government blocked independent media acc