|Sri Lanka: Ambassador Jayatilleka clarifies distortion of the UNHRC report|
|Monday, 16 June 2008|
A British tabloid has recently reported that Sri Lanka, at the current UPR session of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, has requested the British Government to abolish its monarchy. Certain elements in Sri Lankan politics and media have used this statement to bring discredit to the Sri Lankan Government and the Sri Lankan Mission in Geneva. Commenting on this completely distorted media report, H.E. Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka, the Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the United Nations in Geneva has made the following statement:
“The Daily Express - London which is a newspaper which is not very highly rated in the British press published an untruthful report that the Sri Lankan Representative in Geneva asked for the abolition of the British monarchy. Now, this is completely untrue has been corrected in a statement issued by the Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka to the United Nations in Geneva. The Universal Periodic Review Process is one in which Member States make recommendations, sometimes of a far reaching character, concerning other Member States. The United Kingdom and others have made far reaching comments and recommendations about Sri Lanka.
What Sri Lanka did was to suggest that the United Kingdom ‘consider’ the holding of a referendum on the ‘desirability or otherwise’ of promulgating a written constitution, preferably Republican, with a bill of rights. There was no mention whatsoever of a suggestion of the removal of the monarchy, still less the sacking of the Queen. Now, this has been made clear, and in any case, the British representation in Geneva during the UPR did not raise any objections whatsoever to the Sri Lankan recommendation because it was understood that this was in a constructive spirit.
Now, the problem seems to be not with the Government of the United Kingdom, but certain elements in Sri Lanka, who have chosen to make a bit of a fuss about this which is indicative of both their own intellectual level and political predilections. It has been brought to my attention that the official media spokesperson of the United National Party has taken grave exception to the alleged call on our part to do away with the British Monarchy. Now, one wishes that as a responsible political party, the spokesperson had awaited official confirmation or had sought the views of this Mission or the Foreign Ministry on this alleged statement, which is completely false. Instead of which, the UNP has rushed to print.
Now, while I am saddened about this, I am not surprised because, with the outstanding exception of the patriotic leadership of President Premadasa, the United National Party has a history of a foreign policy which has been pro-imperialist and pro-colonial. The UNP objected to the presence of China in Bandoon Conference in 1955, and it was the SLFP that promulgated the Republican constitution in 1972. Until then, the British monarchy was considered to be the Head of State of Sri Lanka.
Today, unfortunately, the United National Party has returned to that old policy of pro-imperialism and pro-colonialism and it is no wonder that they take exception to the independent foreign policy of President Mahinda Rajapaksa and those of us who uphold, and defend, and fight for, the sovereignty, the independence and the territorial integrity of Sri Lanka in the international arena.”
|Last Updated ( Monday, 02 February 2009 )|
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