Even now UNICEF and Red Cross serve in North and East without
hindrance - Ven Elle Gunawansa Thera
People comment on the statement made by UN Under Secretary General of
Humanitarian Affairs Sir John Holmes on Sri Lanka recently and counter
remarks by the Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickramanayake and Minister
Ven. Elle Gunawansa Thera highly condemned the statement made by the
UN Humanitarian Chief that our country was not a safe place to carry on
"At a time we need international support to curb terrorism and to
provide urgent relief measures to a large number of affected people in
the North and the East, the UN Humanitarian Chief should not have made
such negative statements,".
Ven. Elle Gunawansa Thera
The Ven. Thera said: "In the early period, foreigners invaded our
economy, the culture and the land, but due the massive demonstrations
and campaigns, launched by our forefathers we overcame most problems."
The Ven. Thera said that politicians or any other persons in the country
must not panic over the recent statement made by the UN Humanitarian
Asked his view on the comments made by two Ministers on the UN
Chief's statement, the Ven. Thera said that such comments cannot be
considered as serious.
Highways Minister Jeyaraj Fernandopulle said that the UN Humanitarian
Chief has no right to make such an adverse remark on our country; aid
workers in our country have been doing an invaluable service to our
motherland especially in the North and the East during the past several
decades, without hindrance.
Mrs. R. Sriyakantha
(Pix. by Vipula Amarasinghe)
"Actually he must know even at the present moment, a large number of
aid workers from the UNICEF and the Red Cross are serving without any
hindrance in the North and the East", he said.
This UN representative must not make such remarks on another friendly
nation at this crucial juncture considering the war situation in the
North and the East. UNP Parliamentarian Tissa Attanayake quoting the
comments made by Minister Fernandopulle and Prime Minister Ratnasiri
Wickramanayake on the UN Humanitarian representative, rejected them as
being made in an irresponsible manner.
The UNP General Secretary also said that as the main Opposition the
UNP too rejects such statements, but said that it was a personal view of
a UN representative and not the whole UN body.
An unnamed former diplomat of Digana Matale recalled a past incident
and said how a former President called all Parliamentarians in the
country and severely reprimanded them and asked them not to utter a
single word against a foreign diplomat or any other representative
coming for an official matter here. "Therefore President Mahinda
Rajapaksa must advise both the Prime Minister and Minister Fernandopulle
against making such statements".
Private Sector Executive Anil Perera asked all concerned, including
our local politicians to refrain from making such remarks on
international representatives visiting Sri Lanka on official matters.
Public sector employee Mrs. R. Sriyakantha too condemned the statement
made by Holmes that our country was not safe to carry out humanitarian
"This type of remark will adversely affect our country in our
endeavour in seeking a quick solution to the Northern problem; therefore
I request the officials of the UN office here to advise their men to
behave in a positive manner in the future".
Undergraduate in Colombo University Hemantha Wijeyawardana of
Ratnapura said: "I heard John Holmes had later made another statement in
this regard to the effect that he had never made such remarks on the
situation of our country".
"However, it was sad to watch the Prime Minister's comment on a
television channel on Holmes' comment as he used very low grade words
Kamal Weeramuni of Hanwella said : "I am grateful to Foreign Minister
Rohitha Bogollagama for telling that Holmes was not a `terrorist' and
that statement made by Minister Fernandopulle does not reflect the