UN Closes Office in Sri Lanka

    A UNHCR worker speaks with a family who escaped fighting in eastern Sri Lanka. Photo by: S. Perera / UNHCR

    The U.N. has closed its office in Sri Lanka’s capital but “essential staff” will be reporting to work July 8, a U.N. spokesman in New York said.

    The organization’s office in Colombo was closed on July 7, the second day of protests led by a government official against U.N. war crime panels.

    The demonstrators, led by Sri Lankan Engineering Services and Construction Minister Wimal Weerawansa, vowed to stay outside the U.N. office in Colombo until the U.N. abandons its plans to investigate alleged war crimes committed by the Sri Lankan military.

    “By tomorrow if we do not get a favourable answer, a parliamentarian will also join this fast unto death campaign and we are asking all Sri Lankans abroad to stage protests in front of U.N. offices all over the world,” Weerawansa said according to Reuters.

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    • Ivy Mungcal

      As former senior staff writer, Ivy Mungcal contributed to several Devex publications. Her focus is on breaking news, and in particular on global aid reform and trends in the United States, Europe, the Caribbean, and the Americas. Before joining Devex in 2009, Ivy produced specialized content for U.S. and U.K.-based business websites.